Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Culture and Parenting: Psychological Adjustment among Chinese Canadian Adolescents/Culture et Rôle Parental : Adaptation Psychologique Chez Les Adolescents Canadiens D'origine Chinoise

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Culture and Parenting: Psychological Adjustment among Chinese Canadian Adolescents/Culture et Rôle Parental : Adaptation Psychologique Chez Les Adolescents Canadiens D'origine Chinoise

Article excerpt

The impact of parenting on children's developmental outcomes has been widely researched among Western, particularly North American, societies (Baumrind, 1971; Maccoby, 1980). Accumulating cross-cultural investigations have revealed that parenting style and its association with optimal child outcomes differ across cultural groups (Chao, 1.994; Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, Roberts, & Fraieigh, 1987; Lim & Lim, 2004; Lin & Fu, 1990; Steinberg, Mounts, Lamborn, & Dornbusch, 1991; Stewart, Bond, Kennard, Ho, èc Zaman, 2002). Given that parenting is largely informed by culture, researchers have speculated that immigration and acculturation, which refers to the process of cultural adaptation, may complicate issues of parenting to the detriment of children's overall adjustment (Chiù, Feldman, & Rosenthal, 1992; Costigan &c Dokis, 2006; Juang, Syed, & Takagi, 2007; Tardif & Geva, 2006; Tsai-Chae & Nagata, 2008; Wu & Chao, 2005).

At this time, the Asian population represents North America's largest and fastest growing non-European ethnic group (Statistics Canada, 2004; U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2004). While immigrants from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan comprise a large proportion of North America's Asian immigrant population, Chinese immigrants continue to remain underrepresented in the parenting research literature (Lim & Lim, 2004; Yeh, Kim, Pituc, & Atkins, 2008). This study addressed this important need for a culture-specific inquiry into parenting and child outcomes among Chinese immigrant youth.

Parental acceptance-rejection theory (PARTheory; Rohner, Khaleque, Oc Cournoyer, 2005), along with its quantitative means of empirical inquiry, provides a coherent approach to the study of parenting and has been used in numerous cross-cultural studies. According to PARTheory, parenting style can be conceptualized using an orthogonal or bidimensional model whereby parental warmth (acceptance-rejection) and parental control (permissiveness-strictness) represent two independent dimensions of parenting behaviour. According to PAR Theory, and for the purposes of this study "parental control" refers specifically to the level of limitations that parents place on their children's behaviour. The term "parent" refers to a significant caregiver in a child's life and not necessarily a biological or adoptive parent.

Substantial cross-cultural evidence supports PARTheory's major postulate that children's perception of parental warmth is directly, positively, and universally associated with their psychological adjustment (Cournoyer, Sethi, & Cordero, 2005; Khaleque & Rohner, 2002a; Kim, Cain, & McCubbin, 2006; Lila, Garcia, & Garcia, 2007; Rohner, 2004; Rohner, Kean, & Cournoyer, 1991; Rohner & Rohner, 2005). The relationship between children's perception of parental control and their psychological adjustment is not specifically stated in PARTheory and remains inconsistent within the research literature (Chiu et al., 1992; Cournoyer et al., 2005; Kim et al., 2006; Rohner et al., 2005).

Cross-cultural researchers have suggested that the extent to which parental control is exerted, as well as its association with parental warmth, varies across cultural contexts depending upon the outcomes valued by a particular cultural group (Lim & Lim, 2004; Lin oc Fu, 1990; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Rothbaum, Morelli, Pott, & Liu-Constant, 2000; Rudy & Grusec, 2006). In individualistic societies (e.g., Western European) that value independence and individual initiative, parents overtly express warmth, empathy, and encouragement toward their children and support them to actively discover and express their unique inner attributes. Parents tend to avoid the use of strict control that is considered to be an infringement on their children's need for autonomy.

In collectivistic societies (e.g., Asian) that value interdependence and conformity to social norms, filial piety and deference to parental authority are culturally endorsed. …

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