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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Parent-adolescent conflict and resolution in Chinese American and Caucasian families. (cross cultural, intergenerational conflict).

Author: Lung,-Ann-Yu
Author Background: U California, Los Angeles, US
Date 2/2000
Type Dissertation
Journal Title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering
Volume/Pages Vol 60(7-B): 3571
Subject Matter Chinese Americans, cross cultural, intergenerational conflict
Abstract Parent-adolescent conflict is often considered a primary source of familial distress and psychological maladjustment. Numerous studies have been conducted examining the nature of family conflict and conflict resolution in Caucasian families, and the various factors and outcomes associated with family conflict experiences. However, there is little empirical research on family conflict and its resolution among Asian Americans. This dissertation is a cross-ethnic examination of the nature and clinical outcomes of conflict and its resolution in Chinese American and Caucasian families. Self-report questionnaire data were collected from college freshmen enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles. Results showed that Chinese Americans experienced more conflict with their parents over issues pertaining to familial respect, and homework or leisure time. Caucasians reported more conflict over drugs, drinking, and sex. The gender gap in family conflict was expected to be greater for Chinese Americans due to the differential treatment of sons and daughters in the Chinese culture, but this was not supported. Differences between Chinese Americans and Caucasian families were found for conflict resolution strategies. Chinese American families exhibited more avoidance, guilt and shaming, and severe physical aggression while Caucasian families used more verbal reasoning and obliging strategies. Higher acculturation and alienation from both Asian and Western value systems predicted higher family conflict and more aggressive coping strategies used in the home. Findings for the moderating effects of individualism-collectivism on the relationships between family conflict and outcomes were mixed, and the proposition that individualism-collectivism may not be equally salient for Caucasians and Chinese Americans is discussed. This study also investigated whether culturally-congruent resolution strategies predicted better outcomes. While the results were mixed, findings did show that Chinese Americans experienced greater distress when physical confrontation was used in the home, and Caucasians experienced greater distress when avoidance, guilt, and shaming were used. Evidence showed that Chinese American students perceived their overall family atmosphere as more hostile and angry than the Caucasians, and they also reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and more family dissatisfaction. The urgent need to address the psychological and familial distress of Chinese American adolescents is discussed. Limitations of the current study and directions for future research are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)