Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 154–169 | Cite as

Burdened or Efficacious? Subgroups of Chinese American Language Brokers, Predictors, and Long-Term Outcomes

  • Yishan ShenEmail author
  • Su Yeong Kim
  • Aprile D. Benner
Empirical Research


Despite growing research on youth language brokering in immigrant families, evidence regarding its developmental outcomes remains mixed. This study took a person-centered approach, exploring subgroups of language brokers and identifying predictors and long-term outcomes of the subgroup membership. Participants were Chinese American adolescents (N = 350 at Time 1; Mage = 17.04; SD = 0.72; 59% female) followed over two waves spaced four years apart (longitudinal N = 291). Two distinct subgroups of adolescent language brokers were identified using latent profile analyses on language brokering feelings: efficacious and burdened brokers. Adolescents proficient in both English and Chinese were more likely to be efficacious brokers. Furthermore, burdened brokers reported higher parent–child alienation, and in turn, more depressive symptoms in emerging adulthood, compared to efficacious brokers and non-language-brokers. The current findings inform future interventions that burdened language brokers may be most at risk and that improving parent–child relationships may be one way to promote the well-being of young brokers.


Chinese American Language brokering Adolescence Emerging adulthood 


Authors’ Contributions

Y.S. conceived of the study, carried out statistical analyses, interpreted the results, and drafted the manuscript. S.Y.K. collected the data, participated in the design of the study, oversaw the process of data analyses, and revised the manuscript. A.D.B. participated in the design of the study and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


Support for this research was provided through awards to Su Yeong Kim from (1) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 5R03HD051629-02 (2) Office of the Vice President for Research Grant/Special Research Grant from the University of Texas at Austin (3) Jacobs Foundation Young Investigator Grant (4) American Psychological Association Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs, Promoting Psychological Research and Training on Health Disparities Issues at Ethnic Minority Serving Institutions Grant (5) American Psychological Foundation/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology, Ruth G. and Joseph D. Matarazzo Grant (6) California Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Extended Education Fund (7) American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Massachusetts Avenue Building Assets Fund, and (8) Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development P2C HD042849-17 grant awarded to the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin.

Data Sharing and Declaration

This manuscript’s data will not be deposited.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The original data collection was approved by the Institutional Review Boards of the University of California, Davis and the University of Texas at Austin.

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, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Family and Consumer SciencesTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family SciencesUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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