Flexible mindset in the family: Filial piety, cognitive flexibility, and general mental health

Chun Hui Jen, Wei Wen Chen, Chih Wen Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Reciprocal and authoritarian filial piety beliefs have been shown to have distinct relationships with psychological development and well-being. Such beliefs provide an important foundation for parent–child relationships in Chinese families. However, the literature remains unclear about the mechanism through which filial piety contributes to individuals’ well-being. Because researchers have identified cognitive flexibility as a crucial factor in family contexts and demonstrated that it is associated with individuals’ well-being, the present study aimed to examine the mediating role of cognitive flexibility in the relationship between filial piety and Chinese young adults’general mental health (i.e., self-esteem, life satisfaction, and mental wellness). A total of 455 college students from Taiwan participated in the survey. Structural equation modeling yielded the following findings: (a) Reciprocal filial piety was positively associated with cognitive flexibility and authoritarian filial piety was negatively associated with cognitive flexibility; (b) cognitive flexibility contributed positively to life satisfaction, self-esteem, and mental wellness; and (c) cognitive flexibility mediated the relationship of the two filial piety beliefs with life satisfaction, self-esteem, and mental wellness. These findings indicate that the two filial piety beliefs, which reflect different parent–child relationship quality nurtured in family contexts, could relate to individuals’ flexible mindsets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1715-1730
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jun 1


  • Cognitive flexibility
  • filial piety
  • general mental health
  • parent–child relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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