The Impacts of Parent-Child Generational Gaps in Family Values on Subjective Happiness Among Korean Adolescents

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Room: 511
Soyoung LEE , Dept. of Family and Child Studies, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Miai SUNG , Dept. of Home Economics, Korea National Open University, Seoul, South Korea
Due to South Korea’s (Korea hereafter) competitive education system to enter college, in addition to other developmental stressors, Korean adolescents are more likely to experience a high level of stress. Although the degree of subjective happiness amongst Korean adolescents was higher than the median in the happiness scale, recent studies found that Korean adolescents showed the lowest level of happiness compared to Chinese and Japanese adolescents and those who lived in OECD countries. In addition, due to rapid demographic changes in modern Korea, generational gaps in family values particularly with respect to marriage, parenting, and elderly parent support have become more noticeable. Considering positive family relationship is a strong predictor for adolescents’ happiness, it is important to understand how parent-child relationships influence adolescents’ happiness within the contexts of modern Korea. As part of efforts to answer this question, in this study, we specifically examined how parent-child generational gaps in family values influenced subjective happiness amongst Korean adolescents.
Using ordinal regression, we analyzed a subset of the 2010 National Survey of Korean Families data, consisting 91 adolescents with ages ranged from 15 - 18 years and their parents. Results showed that the smaller generational gaps in family values between fathers and adolescents, regardless of the gender of children, was an important factor that predicted adolescents’ subjective happiness. For example, when adolescents had similar viewpoints to their fathers regarding values of parenting, they were more likely to be happy. When both adolescents and their fathers similarly assessed their relationship and the amount of communication with each other, adolescent children were more likely to be happy. These results imply the important roles of fathers in parenting adolescents and adolescent children’s happiness. In particular, it is worth noting that the consensus in family values between parents and adolescents is important to support adolescents’ happiness.