Parents’ Self-Development Socialization Goals and Chinese Adolescents’ Academic Motivation: The Mediating Role of Parents’ Autonomy Support

Zexi Zhou, Zeyi Shi, Xiaoru Li*, Yang Qu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The socialization goals parents hold for their adolescents, which reflect the qualities, skills, or behaviors they want their adolescents to acquire, play an important role in shaping adolescents’ adjustment via parenting practices. Nevertheless, there is a lack of studies that examine the longitudinal implications of parents’ socialization goals for adolescents’ academic motivation, especially in non-Western cultures. Moreover, evidence is still scarce regarding the full process from parents’ socialization goals to parenting practices and further to adolescents’ academic adjustment. To address these gaps, the current two-wave longitudinal study spanning one year examined whether two critical socialization goals endorsed by parents in Chinese culture, namely self-development (i.e., parents wanting adolescents to be unique, autonomous, and self-assertive) and academic achievement socialization goals (i.e., parents wanting adolescents to achieve academic success), predicted Chinese adolescents’ academic motivation over time via parents’ autonomy support. Two hundred and eighty-five Chinese adolescents (Mean age = 12.29 years, SD = 0.64, range = 11–14, 51% girls) reported on perceived parental socialization goals and autonomy support, as well as different aspects of their own academic motivation (i.e., academic interest, mastery orientation, and persistent responses to academic failure). Results showed that perceived parents’ self-development socialization goals positively predicted adolescents’ academic motivation one year later, which was mediated by parents’ increased autonomy support. The findings highlight the positive role of parents’ self-development socialization goals in Chinese adolescents’ academic adjustment in the changing society, and identify the underlying socialization processes via parenting practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1887-1901
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Academic motivation
  • Adolescents
  • Autonomy support
  • Parental socialization goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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