The evolving role of filial piety in eldercare in Hong Kong

Odalia M H WONG, Beatrice H.P. Chau

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


In our study, we examine how prevalent the notion of filial piety remains in a modern Chinese society like Hong Kong as an initiative for individuals to become caregivers for their parents, and how it is practiced in actual caregiving scenarios. From the experiences of the caregivers analyzed in our paper, it can be seen that the Confucian notion of filial piety as a cultural norm still runs deep even in a post-industrial society like Hong Kong. However, the respondents in our study have adopted aspects of this filial norm to suit their own experiences and actual circumstances in their everyday caregiving practices. We also found that a relational approach to filial behavior with its emphasis on ‘felt obligation’ seemed to offer an apt interpretation of the respondents’ motivations while engaging in caregiving for their parents. Specifically, caregiver obligations are negotiated commitments that can perhaps only be accurately interpreted in their highly personal family contexts. In addition, the notion of reciprocity, or giving back to one’s parents, was also a prevalent factor, which reflected that emotional bonds binding the parents and children remained important, as was the empathy for elderly parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-617
Number of pages18
JournalAsian Journal of Social Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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