Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 3371–3384 | Cite as

Culturally Specific Parent Mental Distress, Parent–Child Relations and Youth Depression among Korean American Families

  • Miwa Yasui
  • Tae Yeun Kim
  • Yoosun Choi
Original Paper


The study examined the interrelationships between parental distress, family processes, and child depressive symptoms among Korean American families. Path analyses was used to examine the effects of parents’ culturally specific and somatic symptoms of mental distress on parent–child relationships and child mental health outcomes among a sample of Korean American youth (N = 220), mothers (N = 272), and fathers (N = 164). Independent analyses for fathers and mothers revealed that for Korean American fathers, both cultural symptoms and somatic symptoms were directly related to youth-reported dimensions of family process and indirectly with youth depression. For mothers, direct and indirect pathways between parental distress (i.e., culturally specific and somatic symptoms) and youth depression were non-significant. Our findings suggest that family interventions with Korean immigrant families should consider cultural and gender-specific factors in both parental mental health and family relationships.


Korean Americans Cultural symptoms Intergenerational conflict Parent–child relationships Youth depression 


Author Contributions

M.Y.: designed and executed the study, assisted with the data analyses, and wrote the paper. T.Y.K. analyzed the data and wrote part of the results. Y.C.: assisted with the data analyses, collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.


This study was funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (#K01 MH069910).

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 University of Chicago institutional and/or national 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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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Chicago, School of Social Service AdministrationChicagoUSA
  2. 2.City University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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