Objective Relationship harmony is characteristic of Chinese values and has been increasingly identified as a factor that contributes to social stability. However, no existing survey instrument is available that assesses the concept of family harmony in a Chinese context. We aimed to develop an opinion scale that captures self-evaluated state of family harmony among Hong Kong Chinese.
Methods During June 2008–October 2008, we surveyed 587 Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents (aged 15 and above) randomly selected from a list of residential addresses. We collected demographic data and asked the participants how much they agree with a pool of 52 descriptive items on family relations, family functions, respect, loyalty, love and support, communications and conflict resolution. Most items were positively worded indicative good family relations except five reverse-coded items. Responses ranged from strongly agree (1) to strongly disagree (5). We used exploratory factor analysis with maximum likelihood extraction method.
Results Score distributions for all 52 items were similar, the majority of the participants “agreed” to most items. Mean score of the 52 items was 2.2 (SE=0.4). Exploratory factor analysis identified nine dimensions of the harmony construct with Eigen values above unity, which explained 59% of total variance, and two dimensions with Eigen values of at least two, which explained 48% of total variance.
Conclusion Small variation was found for each of the 52 opinion items on family relations harmony. After item reduction, more in-depth interviews are needed to examine whether these opinion items truly reflect the state of family harmony.
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