Child psychopathology is associated with numerous negative outcomes in adulthood as well as in childhood, and it is well established that parents'behavior can serve as both a key protective factor as well as a key risk factor in the development of child psychopathology. In Vietnam, families face a wide range of challenges that have significantly increased over the past twenty years as Vietnam's economic and social fabric have changed. Studies estimating the prevalence of child psychopathology in Vietnamese children have generally found relatively high rates, and it thus is important to understand how these social changes have impacted on parents, and how parents'behavior is impacting on their children. Research with Western populations may not be entirely applicable to Vietnam and other Asian countries, as there is some research suggesting that the meaning and effects of specific types of parenting behaviors may differ between Asia and the West. Thus, research on parenting in Vietnam can serve two purposes: (a) provide information regarding the current situation in Vietnam (and similar countries), which in turn can suggest the appropriateness of various prevention and intervention approaches for child psychopathology, and (b) more broadly increase our knowledge regarding potential cultural moderators of the effects of parenting behavior on child functioning. In regards to assessing the situation in Vietnam, the proposed project will (a1) develop an observational measure of parenting behavior for Vietnam, as to date all research on parenting in Vietnam has relied on child or parent report of parent behavior;and (a2) conduct a longitudinal study with 220 families to identify the effects of different parenting behaviors on child psychopathology. In regards to more broadly increasing our knowledge regarding effects of parenting, the proposed study will assess how cultural beliefs about the causes and meaning of parents'(and children's) behavior moderates the effects of this behavior. For instance, the proposed study will assess the extent to which children's cultural beliefs regarding their parents'behavior as normative or as having positive intentions may influence the impact that the parenting behavior has on the children's behavior. Thus, the proposed project will seek to increase understanding about parenting and child psychopathology in Vietnam as well as more broadly globally.

Public Health Relevance

This project focuses on the mental health and predictors of the mental health of Vietnamese children. In particular, it seeks to identify parenting behaviors that are associated with positive child mental health outcomes, and parenting behaviors that are associated with negative child mental health outcomes. These results will suggest how parenting programs for children with emotional and / or behavioral mental health problems can most effectively be structured. Thus, this project is directly relevant to public health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-ICP3-N (51))
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Light, Enid
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Vietnam National University
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