Faculty Publications


Constructing family climates: Chinese mothers’ reports of their co-parenting behaviour and preschoolers’ adaptation.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2000

Date Available

March 2012


This report examines how contemporary middle class urban mothers in Beijing, People’s Republic of China (PRC), characterise their own co-parenting conduct in the family. One hundred mothers of 4-year-old preschoolers (95%of whom were only-children) estimated how frequently they engaged in several different activities hypothesised to contribute to co-parenting solidarity. Mothers also reported on their children’s academic competence and behavioural adaptation. Self-reported coparenting activities factored into three major dimensions: behaviours promoting family integrity, coparental conflict, and frequency of co-parental limit-setting or reprimand activities. Children whose mothers reported more frequent and active efforts to promote family integrity were rated as more academically competent than their peers. Children whose mothers acknowledged more frequent interparental discord and conflict were described both as showing more conduct problems, and as more anxious than their peers. Child conduct problems were also associated with mothers’ reports of more regular reprimand activities by the co-parenting partners. These co-parenting variables accounted for significant proportions of the variance in child behaviour measures over and above the contributions of maternal parenting practices. The implications of these findings for studies of coparental conflict and solidarity within the PRC, and directions for future co-parenting research with Chinese families, are discussed.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in International Journal of Behavioral Development, 24(1), 111-118. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Taylor & Francis