Beating the odds : a qualitative study of Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families

Vera M. Y. TANG, Daniel T. L. SHEK

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Researchpeer-review

Abstract

By adonting a holistic perspective with ecological emphases, this study attempted to gain an in-depth understanding of how Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families develop in holistically across time. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews based on seven Chinese female university students growing up in single-mother families receiving welfare participated in this study. The qualitative findings revealed several themes: (1) the participants believed that the main cause of their families in need of receiving welfare was the low educational attainments of their parents, which corresponded to their beliefs held from childhood to their present lives about having a better future life through obtaining higher education qualification; (2) the qualities of 'good child' emphasis in the Chinese culture helped them to maintain positive attitudes towards the experiences of poverty and demands in the families from childhood to their present lives; (3) they perceived the difficult growth trajectories as the "blessings in disguise"; and (4) five protective factors brought them through the difficult past including (a) hope for a better future, (b) family orientation, (c) their mothers, (d) emotional support from non-relatives and relatives, and (e) positive perspective towards adversity. The present findings suggest that although disadvantaged circumstances in childhood and adolescence could limit one's options and opportunities, adolescents could break the cycle of disadvantage if they could see the positive meaning of those experiences later in adolescence or adulthood. Family life quality is also an important factor influencing the well-being of the participants. A holistic and positive youth development approach is recommended to be adopted when working with single-mother welfare recipients and their children who undergo multiple difficulties.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine - Lexington, Kentucky, United States
Duration: 24 Sep 200826 Sep 2008

Conference

Conference4th International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine
CountryUnited States
CityKentucky
Period24/09/0826/09/08
OtherThe 4th international conference on holistic health and medicine was held during September 24-26, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky in the USA of America. This conference brought many participants from 23 countries, both mainstream health care providers and holistic health practitioners, to address the latest in knowledge and research and in turn, to find ways to collaborate and work together to provide the best possible care for their patients and clients. These conferences are held to build bridges between the various fractions of medicine and health care providers. The scientific program included plenary sessions, keynotes, workshops and research presentations, all of which were peer-reviewed by an international scientific committee.

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university
economics
student
childhood
adolescence
welfare
welfare recipient
present
adulthood
qualification
experience
parents
well-being
poverty
adolescent
cause
interview
education

Cite this

TANG, V. M. Y., & SHEK, D. T. L. (2008). Beating the odds : a qualitative study of Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families. Paper presented at 4th International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine, Kentucky, United States.
TANG, Vera M. Y. ; SHEK, Daniel T. L. / Beating the odds : a qualitative study of Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families. Paper presented at 4th International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine, Kentucky, United States.
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abstract = "By adonting a holistic perspective with ecological emphases, this study attempted to gain an in-depth understanding of how Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families develop in holistically across time. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews based on seven Chinese female university students growing up in single-mother families receiving welfare participated in this study. The qualitative findings revealed several themes: (1) the participants believed that the main cause of their families in need of receiving welfare was the low educational attainments of their parents, which corresponded to their beliefs held from childhood to their present lives about having a better future life through obtaining higher education qualification; (2) the qualities of 'good child' emphasis in the Chinese culture helped them to maintain positive attitudes towards the experiences of poverty and demands in the families from childhood to their present lives; (3) they perceived the difficult growth trajectories as the {"}blessings in disguise{"}; and (4) five protective factors brought them through the difficult past including (a) hope for a better future, (b) family orientation, (c) their mothers, (d) emotional support from non-relatives and relatives, and (e) positive perspective towards adversity. The present findings suggest that although disadvantaged circumstances in childhood and adolescence could limit one's options and opportunities, adolescents could break the cycle of disadvantage if they could see the positive meaning of those experiences later in adolescence or adulthood. Family life quality is also an important factor influencing the well-being of the participants. A holistic and positive youth development approach is recommended to be adopted when working with single-mother welfare recipients and their children who undergo multiple difficulties.",
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TANG, VMY & SHEK, DTL 2008, 'Beating the odds : a qualitative study of Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families' Paper presented at 4th International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine, Kentucky, United States, 24/09/08 - 26/09/08, .

Beating the odds : a qualitative study of Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families. / TANG, Vera M. Y.; SHEK, Daniel T. L.

2008. Paper presented at 4th International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine, Kentucky, United States.

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Researchpeer-review

TY - CONF

T1 - Beating the odds : a qualitative study of Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families

AU - TANG, Vera M. Y.

AU - SHEK, Daniel T. L.

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N2 - By adonting a holistic perspective with ecological emphases, this study attempted to gain an in-depth understanding of how Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families develop in holistically across time. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews based on seven Chinese female university students growing up in single-mother families receiving welfare participated in this study. The qualitative findings revealed several themes: (1) the participants believed that the main cause of their families in need of receiving welfare was the low educational attainments of their parents, which corresponded to their beliefs held from childhood to their present lives about having a better future life through obtaining higher education qualification; (2) the qualities of 'good child' emphasis in the Chinese culture helped them to maintain positive attitudes towards the experiences of poverty and demands in the families from childhood to their present lives; (3) they perceived the difficult growth trajectories as the "blessings in disguise"; and (4) five protective factors brought them through the difficult past including (a) hope for a better future, (b) family orientation, (c) their mothers, (d) emotional support from non-relatives and relatives, and (e) positive perspective towards adversity. The present findings suggest that although disadvantaged circumstances in childhood and adolescence could limit one's options and opportunities, adolescents could break the cycle of disadvantage if they could see the positive meaning of those experiences later in adolescence or adulthood. Family life quality is also an important factor influencing the well-being of the participants. A holistic and positive youth development approach is recommended to be adopted when working with single-mother welfare recipients and their children who undergo multiple difficulties.

AB - By adonting a holistic perspective with ecological emphases, this study attempted to gain an in-depth understanding of how Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families develop in holistically across time. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews based on seven Chinese female university students growing up in single-mother families receiving welfare participated in this study. The qualitative findings revealed several themes: (1) the participants believed that the main cause of their families in need of receiving welfare was the low educational attainments of their parents, which corresponded to their beliefs held from childhood to their present lives about having a better future life through obtaining higher education qualification; (2) the qualities of 'good child' emphasis in the Chinese culture helped them to maintain positive attitudes towards the experiences of poverty and demands in the families from childhood to their present lives; (3) they perceived the difficult growth trajectories as the "blessings in disguise"; and (4) five protective factors brought them through the difficult past including (a) hope for a better future, (b) family orientation, (c) their mothers, (d) emotional support from non-relatives and relatives, and (e) positive perspective towards adversity. The present findings suggest that although disadvantaged circumstances in childhood and adolescence could limit one's options and opportunities, adolescents could break the cycle of disadvantage if they could see the positive meaning of those experiences later in adolescence or adulthood. Family life quality is also an important factor influencing the well-being of the participants. A holistic and positive youth development approach is recommended to be adopted when working with single-mother welfare recipients and their children who undergo multiple difficulties.

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TANG VMY, SHEK DTL. Beating the odds : a qualitative study of Chinese female university students growing up in economic disadvantaged families. 2008. Paper presented at 4th International Conference on Holistic Health and Medicine, Kentucky, United States.