Criteria for adulthood, resilience, and self-esteem among emerging adults in Hong Kong: A path analysis approach

Shuyan YANG, Petrus Y N NG*, Renee CHIU, Sean Shuying Li, Robert M. Klassen, Susan Xiqing SU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Emerging adulthood refers to a developmental life stage between adolescence and adulthood. The period of emerging adulthood varies in pattern in different cultures and countries. For emerging adults, individual perceptions about entering into adulthood undergo tremendous changes. Furthermore, the impact of criteria for adulthood on psychological well-being in emerging adults is under-researched. Using a survey of 1,908 Hong Kong emerging adults aged 18–29 years, an integrated path model for self-esteem with resilience was established (TLI = 0.986; NFI = 0.991; CFI = 0.996; RMSEA = 0.021; SRMR = 0.018). The results show that resilience mediated the effects of family capacity (BetaFC-resilience–SE = 0.03, p < .05, BC bootstrap 95% CI = 0.00 to 0.08) and relational maturity (BetaRM-resilience –SE = 0.12, p < .001, BC bootstrap 95% CI = 0.08 to 0.15) on self-esteem. Role transformation was found to have a negative direct effect on self-esteem (BetaRT-resilience = −0.10, p < .001, BC bootstrap 95% CI = −0.15 to −0.05). However, norm compliance, biological transition, and legal transition were not associated with self-esteem or resilience among the sampled emerging adults. In addition, resilience mediated the relationship between gender, educational attainment, and parental educational level and self-esteem. Policymakers and social workers in Hong Kong should pay attention to criteria for adulthood among emerging adults, and tailor-made interventions and educational programs should be launched for parents and school teachers. For instance, training in knowledge of late adolescence and the characteristics of emerging adults should be implemented. Programs to enhance such positive traits as resilience and self-esteem among emerging adults in Hong Kong should be provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105607
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Criteria for adulthood
  • Emerging adults
  • Path analysis
  • Resilience
  • Self-esteem


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