Asians are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, growing by 48% (from 6.9 million to 10.2 million) compared to an increase of 13.2% for the total population between 1990 and 2000. As of 2000, 3.6% of the total U.S. population was Asian, with Chinese being the largest Asian ethnic group. Recent research indicates that Chinese American youth and adults experience greater psychological and social emotional difficulties than their Euro-American counterparts, including anxiety, depression and suicidal risk. Although early parenting practices associated with preschoolers'social development have been consistently shown to predict later psychosocial adjustment in North American samples, the specific parenting practices associated with Chinese immigrant preschoolers'social skill development have yet to be examined. Moreover, the unique role of immigrant Chinese father and mothers has been neglected. Although immigration may present tremendous parenting challenges to families, successful or unsuccessful parenting is dependent on the socio-cultural context and parents'characteristics. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the role of parenting in mediating the effects of immigrant Chinese parents'characteristics and the social context on their children's social skills (aggression, withdrawal, prosocial behaviors). Specifically, we aim to analyze the mediating role of parenting (parenting styles, indigenous practices, management of their children's social network) in the association between (1) psychological and behavioral acculturation, (2) psychological well-being, (3) stress, (4) social support network, (5) Chinese context, and child behavioral outcomes.
These aims will be examined using cross-sectional data from immigrant Chinese fathers and mothers of 200 preschoolers regarding their characteristics, social context, and parenting. Children's aggressive, withdrawn/solitary, and prosocial behaviors will be rated by their preschool teachers.
The benefits to public health of the proposed research include contributing to the literature on the rapidly increasing population of immigrant Chinese families in the US, particularly in regions with smaller existing Chinese communities. Given that Chinese American youth experience greater psychological and social emotional difficulties than their Euro-American counterparts (including anxiety, depression and suicidal risk), findings from this investigation will provide needed information on individual and sociocultural factors related to Chinese immigrant parenting of preschoolers and subsequent child behavioral outcomes that may set the stage for later psychosocial adjustment difficulties and successes. These results will contribute important scientific and practical information to guide community, regional, and national planning, policy development and advocacy regarding the healthy adaptation of immigrant children and their parents.
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