Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 979–989 | Cite as

The Mediating Role of Korean Immigrant Mothers’ Psychological Well-Being in the Associations between Social Support and Authoritarian Parenting Style

  • You Jung Seo
  • Charissa S. L. Cheah
  • Sevgi Bayram Özdemir
  • Craig H. Hart
  • Christy Y. Y. Leung
  • Shuyan Sun
Original Paper


We examined the mediating role of Korean immigrant mothers’ psychological well-being in the associations between mothers’ emotional vs. instrumental support received from their kin, and their authoritarian parenting style with their preschoolers using longitudinal data. First-generation Korean immigrant mothers with preschool-aged children (N = 158; M maternal age = 36.11 years, SD = 3.90; M child age = 4.43 years, SD = 1.10) residing in Maryland, U.S., participated in three assessment waves. Each assessment wave was 6 months apart. Mothers reported on the amount of perceived emotional and instrumental support they received from their kin, their behavioral acculturation towards the American culture, and their family demographic information at Wave 1, their psychological well-being at Wave 2, and their authoritarian parenting style at Wave 3. The results revealed that higher levels of perceived instrumental support (but not emotional support) received from kin predicted higher levels of maternal psychological well-being 6 months later, which in turn predicted lower levels of reported authoritarian parenting style 6 months later. Our findings highlighted the importance of psychological well-being as a mechanism that explains how instrumental support can impact Korean immigrant mothers’ parenting style, and the importance of distinguishing between types of support. Services providing instrumental support (e.g., childcare assistance) for first-generation immigrant mothers, particularly those with smaller or less effective kin networks, appear important to implement.


Emotional and instrumental support Psychological well-being Authoritarian parenting style Korean immigrant mothers 



Author Contributions

Y.J.S.: Developed the hypotheses, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. C.S.L.C.: Designed and executed the study and wrote the paper. S.B.O.: Assisted with the data analyses and writing of the study. C.H.H.: Collaborated with the design and writing of the study. C.Y.Y.L.: Assisted with writing of the study. S.S.: Assisted with the data analyses.


This study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1R03HD052827-01) awarded to Charissa S. L. Cheah, and the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Endowed Chair and the Zina Young Williams Card Professorship at Brigham Young University awarded to Craig H. Hart.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County provided IRB approval for the study. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • You Jung Seo
    • 1
  • Charissa S. L. Cheah
    • 1
  • Sevgi Bayram Özdemir
    • 2
  • Craig H. Hart
    • 3
  • Christy Y. Y. Leung
    • 4
  • Shuyan Sun
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Örebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  3. 3.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  4. 4.University of Chicago MedicineChicagoUSA

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