A comparative study of child temperament and parenting in Beijing, China and the western United States


child temperament, parenting


The purpose of this investigation was to examine comparable dimensions and linkages between child temperament and parenting styles with samples from Beijing, China and the western United States. Participants included 404 mothers and fathers from Beijing, China and 325 mothers and fathers from the western United States. Both mothers and fathers completed Buss and Plomin's (1984) EAS Temperament Scale as well as a spousal-report measure of parenting styles. Structural equation modelling was used to identify invariant (statistically comparable) factors for child temperament and parenting styles. Within-culture gender comparisons showed that Chinese fathers (relative to mothers) viewed their sons as being more active and sociable than daughters while US mothers (relative to fathers) rated their sons as being more active. Across-culture differences revealed that US parents (relative to Chinese parents) viewed children as more emotional while Chinese fathers (relative to US fathers) rated their children as more active. Similar and differential cultural patterns of linkages were also found between parenting styles and child temperament. Child emotionality was positively associated with authoritarian parenting in both cultures while child activity level was linked to more authoritative and less authoritarian parenting styles, but only in the Chinese sample. Finally, child sociability was found to be negatively linked to cross-gender patterns of authoritarian parenting in the US while mothers’ and fathers’ authoritarian parenting in China was linked to lower sociability in daughters only.

Original Publication Citation

Porter, C.L., Hart, C.H., Yang, C., Robinson, C.C., Olsen, S.F., *Zeng, Q, Olsen, J.A., & Jin, S. (2005). A comparative study of child temperament and parenting in Beijing, China and the Western United States. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 29, 541-551.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



International Journal of Behavioral Development




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor