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Decomposing filial piety into filial attitudes and filial enactments


Sylvia Chen, Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Email:


In an attempt to explore the attitude-behaviour relationship, the present study examined the mixed findings from research on filial piety by differentiating filial attitudes from filial behaviours. The Filial Behaviour Scale was developed to tap the behavioural manifestations of filial piety, and its nomological network was established in two Chinese contexts, Hong Kong and Beijing. In addition to filial attitudes, we used values, social beliefs, and self-construals to explain filial behaviours. The results of hierarchical regression analysis showed that the value factor of conservation and the social axiom of reward for application predicted filial behaviour above and beyond filial attitudes; an interdependent self-construal moderated the effect of cultural group on filial behaviour. Gender and regional differences in filial piety were also examined. Males were found to score higher on filial attitudes, but not significantly higher on filial behaviours. Regional differences existed in filial behaviours, but not in filial attitudes, with Mainland Chinese displaying a higher level of filial behaviours than their Hong Kong counterparts. These identified differences suggest the importance of differentiating filial attitudes from filial behaviours in future attempts to understand Chinese filiality.