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Intergenerational Discrepancies of Parental Control Among Chinese American Families: Links to Family Conflict and Adolescent Depressive Symptoms

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescence Volume: 30 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2007 Pages: 965-975
Linda P. Juang; Moin Syed; Miyuki Takagi
Date Published
December 2007
11 pages
The study investigated discrepancies between Chinese adolescents’ and parents’ endorsement of parental control which contribute to adolescents depressive symptoms.
Findings suggest that greater parent-adolescent discrepancies and parents’ endorsement of parental control contributed to adolescent depressive symptoms. Furthermore, family conflict partially mediated this relation. The results identify family conflict through which intergenerational discrepancies is linked to poorer mental health among Chinese American adolescents. Depressive symptoms have been identified as one of the most important mental health concerns for Asian-American adolescents; however, this study’s sample displayed very low scores for depressive symptoms. Most studies of Asian-Americans and depression have not separated the different Asian groups. Asian-Americans reported higher scores on depressed mood than European-Americans, but only during late and not early adolescence. A more nuanced view of depressive symptoms among various groups reveals that Chinese adolescents may be at lower risk compared to other Asian groups. One notable finding was the variation in parent-adolescent discrepancies involving acculturation in immigrant families. The assumption that parents acculturate at a slower rate than their adolescents, and therefore, embody more traditional cultural ideals is not always the case; in this study, there were some parents who were less traditional (endorsed less parental control), and some adolescents who were more traditional (endorsed more parental control) than their parents. Greater parent-adolescent discrepancies concerning parents control predicted greater depressive symptoms among adolescents. Study limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed. The sample, 166 pairs of Chinese-American adolescents and their parents, completed a survey. Tables, references


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