Hopelessness, Family Functioning and Suicidal Ideation Among Chinese Adolescents in Hong Kong§

Sylvia Y.C. Lai Kwok*, 1, Daniel T.L. Shek2
1 Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2 Centre for Quality of Life, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

© 2008 Kwok and Shek et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Applied Social Studies, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; E-mail:
§ The paper is part of the Ph.D. thesis of the first author under the supervi-sion of the second author. The preparation for this paper was financially supported by Wofoo Foundation Limited


Based on the responses of 5,557 Chinese secondary students in Hong Kong, the relationship among hopelessness, perceived family functioning and suicidal ideation was examined in this study. Results showed that while hopelessness had a positive relationship with suicidal ideation, perceived global family functioning had a negative relationship with Chinese adolescent suicidal ideation. Different dimensions of family functioning were differentially related to suicidal ideation, with conflict and harmony, parental concern and parental control showing stronger prediction of adolescent suicidal ideation than did mutuality and communication. It was further found that family functioning moderated the relationship between hopelessness and adolescent suicidal ideation. The present study underscores the importance of family functioning in the psychological well-being of Chinese adolescents. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Keywords: Hopelessness, family functioning, Chinese adolescents, suicidal ideation, psychological well-being.