The Effects of Contextual and Individual-Level Factors on Chinese Adults' Attitudes Toward Social Environments

Publication Abstract

Wu, Qiong, and Yu Xie. 2014. "The Effects of Contextual and Individual-Level Factors on Chinese Adults' Attitudes Toward Social Environments." Chinese Sociological Review, 47(1): 84-102.

Using data from the nationally representative China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), we describe Chinese adults' attitudes toward three specific aspects of social environments: local government performance, severity of major social issues, and social trust. We further explore how county-level contextual factors and personal experiences relate to subjective social environments, while controlling for individual demographics. On average, Chinese adults in the CFPS endorsed moderately positive ratings for their local governments, but perceived high severities in various social issues, ranking economic inequality as the most severe. A moderate level of generalized trust was found, together with very high trust in parents and very low trust in Americans and strangers. Further analyses revealed that variations in subjective social environments at the prefectural level were relatively small compared with individual-level variations. At the individual level, personal experiences such as perceived unfair treatment showed consistently negative effects on how people evaluated their social environments. At the contextual level, employment rates appeared more influential than other studied factors. Regional economic inequality, as indicated by prefectural Gini, was not associated with most outcomes we studied.

DOI:10.2753/CSA2162-0555470104 (Full Text)

NIHMSID: NIHMS671046. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: China.

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