MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra

Research Projects


  • Developmental Precursors to Early Literacy in Chinese Children
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra, FLETCHER Paul*, SHU Hua*, TARDIF Twila Zoe*, WONG Anita*
    1 August 2003
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    This project examines longitudinal predictors of early reading skills in Chinese children. Our unique sample of approximately 300 children each from Hong Kong and Beijing has already been tested at least twice from ages 8-20-months on the Chinese Communicative Development Inventory. We will focus on how these children’s previously tested early language skills predict subsequent performance on reading-related measures (e.g. phonological and morphological awareness) and reading itself. An overall measure of nonverbal intelligence will also be administered to all participating children at around the age of 3.5 years. All children will be tested on reading-related skills at twelve-month intervals from 3.5 years to eighty months or the fifth testing time, whichever comes first. Hierarchical linear modeling will be used to test growth curves predicting subsequent reading development from early oral language and literacy-related skills. A Beijing-Hong Kong comparison of growth curves in reading is particularly useful because it highlights some of the effects of teaching and linguistic environment on reading development in Chinese children. This study will be among a very few that have examined normal early spoken language development in relation to normal reading development in any language or orthography. Theoretically, this study will help researchers to understand both universal and language/script-specific aspects of reading development. Practically, this study will indicate to clinicians those markers of early language development that may be diagnostically useful for identifying children in Chinese-speaking populations who may be at-risk for subsequent reading problems. (CU03257)


  • The Impact of Dialogical Reading on Hearing Impaired and Normal Hearing Hong Kong Kindergarten Students
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra
    1 November 2001
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    In this study, we seek to study the effects of different types of parent-child shared reading on children.s language development. In two groups of kindergarten students, normal hearing and hearing impaired, we will compare two approaches to parent-child book-sharing to a control condition in which parents and children are not given any special reading training.
    We address two primary issues in this study. First, to what extent can dialogical reading promote language skills in young children? This reading technique, which has been used with success in American preschool programs, has not yet been tested in other countries. If this program is successful, it may be one key to promoting children.s early interest in reading and facilitating children.s language growth. Second, to what extent can dialogical reading techniques facilitate language learning among the hearing impaired? One of the greatest difficulties hearing impaired children have is that of language delay. If it is possible to promote language growth in these children very early with this technique, this will be an important breakthrough in remediation techniques among parents and teachers who work with hearing impaired students. (SS01513)


  • Indication and Prevention of Aggressive and Withdrawn Behaviours in Primary School Children
  • CHANG Lei, MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra (Dept of Psychology)
    1 January 2001
    Quality Education Fund, HKSAR Government

    The purpose of this study is to:
    (1) classify different types of withdrawn and aggressive behaviors in Hong Kong elementary school children so that such a profile can be used to guide future intervention efforts beyond the period of this study;
    (2) identify behavioral as well as etiological correlates of these social-emotional problems and use indicators to monitor children's peer relationship and affect development for an extended period of time beyond the completion of this study; and
    (3) develop and implement a social skills training program for anxious withdrawn boys who are most vulnerable to falling victims of school bullying and aggression. If successful, the training will continue after the completion of this study. (SS20005)


  • Maternal Mediation of Writing in Kindergarten Children: A Comparison between Hong Kong and Beijing
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra, LIN Dan*
    1 November 2007
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    The proposed study tests how mothers’ approaches to guiding children’s writing are associated with their children’s early literacy skills in 60 Hong Kong 5-year-olds, and 60 6-year-olds in Beijing. We plan to adapt/create and apply scales of mother-child interactions in preschool writing based on previous research on Hebrew. These scales focus on how mothers help their children to write, e.g. by giving them autonomy to try to write by themselves or by giving them relatively little autonomy by emphasizing copying; comments on the writing process are also important. Ratings on each scale, along with measures of phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and visuo-orthographic skill, will be used to explain children’s word recognition. We will also compare mother-child joint writing by age and culture.
    This research will reveal mothers’ typical writing practices in Hong Kong and Beijing. Maternal mediation writing strategies may differ across these societies because of differences across them in oral languages, scripts, and use of Pinyin for teaching reading. Thus, it will be important to compare these. Theoretically, this study will test the importance of different maternal strategies for facilitating children’s early writing across age and culture in a broader Chinese context. Practically, this study might help us to understand what constitutes “best practices” for writing skills in early childhood. Whichever practices seem most strongly related to reading success might subsequently be applied by teachers or parents in helping children to achieve strong literacy skills. (SS07576)


  • Parent-Child Reading in the Hong Kong Bilingual Context
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra, CHEUNG Him CHOW Wing Yin (Educational Psychology)
    1 August 2004
    Quality Education Fund, HKSAR Government

    We seek to improve both Chinese and English language and preliteracy skills, as well as interest in speaking English through a method of parent-child reading called dialogical reading in kindergartners. This dialogical reading program has worked well in previous research studies (mostly from the U.S.) in promoting early language and pre-literacy skills in children learning to read in their first language. This study will involve approximately 210 students and their parents in three kindergartens in Hong Kong. In order to evaluate this program using a rigorous research design, we seek to accomplish the following:
    1) Adapt current children’s books.
    2) Pretest children on early language and early literacy skills in both English and Chinese and randomly assign them to groups. These groups will be the same, separately in both Chinese and English, except a dialogical reading with additional linguistic training group will be included for the Chinese part, for a total of seven groups.
    3) Train selected parents.
    4) Facilitate a 12-week dialogical reading intervention.
    5) Post-test all children on language and early literacy skills in both Chinese and English.
    6) Analyze the data and draw conclusions.
    7) Create a dialogical reading manual to be made available to all parents and teachers on kindergartens to promote dialogical reading skills in both Chinese and English.
    If this technique is successful, it will be useful for pre-primary school educators in Hong Kong and perhaps in other areas of the world seeking to promote Chinese, and English as a second language as well. (SS04582)


  • Refinement and Testing of the Dialogical Reading Technique for Language-delayed Hong Kong Chinese Children
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra
    15 November 2002
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    We seek to understand the effects of dialogic reading, an interactive parent-child reading technique, on the language, development of language-delayed children in Hong Kong. We will compare the effects of this technique to those in a control condition in which parent and children engage in shared-book reading without any special training.
    Language developmental delay affects a substantial proportion (estimates range from 5 to 15%) of children, with lasting consequences for their development. Given the seriousness of the influence of early speech delay on children’s later development, the proposed study will be conducted to establish the extent to which the proposed reading technique can facilitate language-delayed children’s learning of language and literacy skills.
    Although the dialogic reading technique has enhanced both language and emergent literacy skills of North American children, there is little research available on the effects of this technique on Chinese children. This study will help us to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the dialogic reading technique for Chinese language-delayed children, and to refine the technique for wider use in Hong Kong. As developed in North America, the dialogic reading technique is teachable within a short period of time to adults who have no background in psychology or linguistics, and the training is inexpensive. Positive results of this study may encourage parents and educators to learn and use the technique across Hong Kong, and this will be an important breakthrough in remedial language teaching techniques created to help parents and educators to teach language-delayed children most effectively. (SS02784)


  • The Role of Phonological and Morphological Awareness in Spelling and Reading Ability across Languages: A Comparison between Dutch and Chinese
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra Reitsma Pieter*, Rispens Judith*
    1 November 2004
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    In the proposed study, we examine how phonological awareness and morphological awareness are associated with vocabulary acquisition and reading and spelling skills in beginning readers and sixth graders in Hong Kong and The Netherlands. Our recent work, carried out in separate labs in Hong Kong and The Netherlands, suggests that awareness of morphemes as building blocks for language in Chinese and inflectional morphology in Dutch are both important predictors of early reading in those respective languages. The present study extends this research in four ways. First, we will examine the role of morphological awareness for more advanced reading and spelling skills in both scripts (Dutch, Chinese). Second, we will develop and test different tasks of morphological awareness in Dutch and Chinese and compare these when applicable across cultures and learning levels (beginning readers and sixth graders). We will focus on the role of lexical compounding across both languages but additionally study the role of inflectional morphology as separate from lexical compounding, which is particularly important in Dutch. Third, we will examine the roles of different tasks of morphological awareness for statistically predicting vocabulary acquisition across cultures and age groups. Finally, we will study the development of phonological awareness and morphological awareness relative to one another and to literacy skills and vocabulary knowledge across languages. The proposed study highlights universals and specifics of language and literacy development and may suggest new ways to identify and train those at-risk for reading or language delays across cultures. (SS04449)


  • Universals and Specifics in Reading Development: Speed of Processing, Phonological Awareness, Morphological Awareness, and Home Literacy Environment
  • MCBRIDE Catherine Alexandra, SHU Hua*, WAGNER Richard K*, YIP Choy Yin Virginia (Dept of Modern Langs. And Intercultural Studies)
    13 August 2001
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    The proposed study will incorporate measures of speed, phonological awareness, metalinguistic skill (primarily morphological awareness), and home literacy environment to predict beginning reading performance in bilingual (Chinese and English) Hong Kong children, monolingual (Chinese) Beijing children, and monolingual (English) American children in two grade levels, kindergarten and second grade. Children will be tested twice on these measures, initially in late October and again in July of the same academic year. Results will clarify the nature of phonological awareness in relation to language and orthography, the extent to which bilingual children have an advantage over monolingual children in metalinguistic awareness, and the relative importance of morphological and phonological awareness for reading of Chinese and English. We will use structural equation modeling to test the contributions of constructs of speed, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, and home literacy environment for reading each orthography, concurrently and longitudinally. Clarifying the strengths of these associations with reading and with one another will contribute to our understanding of the universal and orthography/language-specific components of comprehensive models of beginning reading of Chinese and English. (ED01325)



Research Publications


  • "Adolescent-Parent Relations in Hong Kong: Parenting Styles, Emotional Autonomy, and School Achievement" (co-authored with CHANG Lei.). The Journal of Genetic Psychology Vol. 159, Issue 4, Provincetown, Mass, USA: Heldreff Publications, 1998. pp.421-436.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "Associations of parenting styles of Filipina domestic helpers and mothers with Hong Kong kindergarten children's social competence" (co-authored with IP H. M., CHEUNG S. K. and CHANG L.). Early Education and Development vol.19, 2008.06. pp.284-301.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "Beliefs in Filial Piety and Parental Warmth in Relation to Psychological Well-Being in Hong Kong Chinese Children" (co-authored with LEUNG, NGA MAN, CHEUNG SIN SZE, WONG Stephanie and WONG Iris). Society for Research in Child development 2007.04.01.



  • "Changing Models across Cultures: Associations of Phonological and Morphological Awareness to Reading in Beijing, Hong Kong, Korea, and America" (co-authored with CHO J. R., LIU H., WAGNER R. K., SHU H., ZHOU A., CHEUK C. S. M. and MUSE A.). Journal of Experimental Child Psychology vol.92, 2005. pp.140-160.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Periodical BF721.J64 v.91-92, 2005)



  • "Correlates of Cross-sex Friendship Satisfaction in Hong Kong Adolescents" (co-authored with CHEUNG Sum Kwing). International Journal of Behavioral Development vol.31 no.1, 2007.01. pp.19-27.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "Environment and Bilingualism in Hong Kong Kindergartners: The Impact of Foreign Domestic Helpers on Early Language-Learning" (co-authored with CHAN Tsui Yan). Journal of Psychology in Chinese Societies vol.6 2005. pp.179-193.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Periodical DS701 .J69 v.6-7, 2005-06; Available Online)



  • "Home Literacy And Chinese Reading in Hong Kong Children" (co-authored with LAU Yuet Han Jasmine). Early Education & Development. vol.16 no.1, 2005.01.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Periodical BF1 .A158 v.36, 2001)



  • "The Impact of A Dialogic Reading Program on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Kindergarten and Early Primary School-Aged Students in Hong Kong" (co-authored with FUNG Pan Chung and CHOW Bonnie Wing Yin). Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education vol.10 no.1, 2005. p.82-95.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "The Impact of Dialogical Reading in Typically Developing and Hearing Impaired Hong Kong Young Children" (co-authored with CHOW WING YIN and FUNG Pan Chung). Paper presented in the Scientific Study of Reading Conference, organized by Scientic Study of Reading, 2004.06.27.



  • "The Influence of Parenting Styles, Self-Esteem, and Academic Self-Concept on Life Satisfaction Among Adolescent Girls in Hong Kong" (co-authored with LEUNG Y.W. Candice). Paper presented in the Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting, organized by The Society for Research in Child Development. Minnesota, USA, 2001.04.20.



  • "Longitudinal predictors of Chinese character recognition and vocabulary knowledge in Hong Kong kindergartners.". Paper presented in the Processing of Chinese and Other East Asian Languages Meeting, Hong Kong, 2005.12.



  • "Phonological Processing Skills and Early Reading Abilities in Hong Kong Chinese Kindergarteners Learning to Read English as A Second Language" (co-authored with CHOW Bonnie Wing Yin and BURGESS Stephen). Journal of Educational Psychology vol.97 no.1, 2005. pp.81-87.
    (CUHK Library Call No: CC Periodical L11 .J8 v.97, 2005)



  • "Predictors of Suicide Ideation and Depression in Hong Kong Adolescents: Perceptions of Academic and Family Climates" (co-authored with LEE Ting Yim Margaret, WONG Pui Betty and CHOW Bonnie Wing Yin). Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior vol.36, 2006. pp.82-96.
    (CUHK Library Call No: Available Online)



  • "Spelling Acquistion In Young Hong Kong Chinese Children" (co-authored with TONG XIULI). Paper presented in the Annual Conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, organized by Scientific study of reading research. Prague, Czech Republic, 2007.07.14.



  • "Suicidal Ideation, Parenting Style, and Family Climate among Hong Kong Adolescents" (co-authored with LAI Ka Wai). International Journal of Psychology vol.36 no.2, International Union of Psychological Science, 2001. pp.81-87.
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Periodical BF1 .A158 v.36, 2001)



  • "Suicide Ideation and Academic Striving in Hong Kong" (co-authored with LEE TING YIM MARGARET). Paper presented in the 8th European Congress of Psychology, organized by the Austrian Professional Association of Psychologists (BOP), Vienna, Austria, 2003.07.07.


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