Do Measures of Parenting Have the Same Meaning for European, Chinese, and Filipino American Adolescents? Tests of Measurement Equivalence

  • Lisa J. Crockett
  • Glen J. Veed
  • Stephen T. Russell
Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


Ethnic group differences in the meaning of parenting behaviors pose challenges for measuring parenting across different ethnic groups. If parental support or control encompasses different behaviors across different ethnic or cultural groups, a scale designed to measure that construct in one group is likely to omit behaviors that are important for defining it in other groups, resulting in different levels of the validity of that measure for different cultural groups. Moreover, even if the same items (behaviors) are relevant in two groups, they may be interpreted somewhat differently or may be more central to one group than the other. Such differences can result in poorer measurement of the construct in some groups than others and in scores that are not comparable across groups. Most measures of parenting have been developed primarily with European American samples. In this chapter, we investigate the cross-ethnic equivalence of parenting measures using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health Study). The study was begun in the mid-1990s and is the largest, most comprehensive study of over 20,000 adolescents in the United States. The study is unique because it includes a range of measures about parenting and parent–adolescent relationships, and included over 8,550 European American, over 250 Chinese American, and over 450 Filipino American adolescents. Analyses were designed with two goals in mind: first, to learn whether the measures of parental support and control (framed as autonomy granting) show measurement equivalence/invariance and, second, to gain insight into the different understandings of parental support and autonomy granting held by Chinese American, Filipino American, and European American adolescents. The picture that emerged is one of considerable cross-ethnic invariance (similarity) of the Add Health measures of maternal and paternal support for European Americans and Filipino Americans of both genders—but not for Chinese Americans. In contrast to measures of parental support, the evidence of cross-ethnic equivalence of the autonomy-granting measure was generally weak, suggesting that this measure may have different meanings for Asian American and European American adolescents.


Parental Support Standardize Root Mean Square Residual Factorial Invariance Configural Invariance Strong Invariance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Agbayani-Siewert, P. (1994). Filipino American culture and family: Guidelines for practitioners. Families in Society, 75, 429–438.Google Scholar
  2. Bae, W., & Brekke, J. S. (2003). The measurement of self-esteem among Korean Americans: A cross-ethnic study. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 9, 16–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bearman, P. S., Jones, J., & Udry, J. R. (1997). The national longitudinal study of adolescent health: Research design [WWW document],
  4. Berndt, T. J., Cheung, P. C., Lau, S., & Hau, K. (1993). Perceptions of parenting in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong: Sex differences and societal differences. Developmental Psychology, 29, 156–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bond, M., & Wang, S. (1983). Aggressive behaviour in Chinese society: The problem of maintaining order and harmony. Bulletin of the Hong Kong Psychological Society, 8, 5–25.Google Scholar
  6. Byrne, B. M., Shavelson, R. J., & Muthén, B. (1989). Testing for the equivalence of factor covariance and mean structures: The issue of partial measurement invariance. Psychological Bulletin, 105, 456–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chantala, K., & Tabor, J. (1999). Strategies to perform a design-based analysis using the Add Health data [WWW document],
  8. Chao, R. K. (1994). Beyond parental control and authoritarian parenting style: Understanding Chinese parenting through the cultural notion of training. Child Development, 65, 1111–1119.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Chao, R. K. (1996). Chinese and European American mothers’ beliefs about the role of parenting in children’s school success. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 27, 403–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chao, R. K. (2001a). Extending research on the consequences of parenting style for Chinese Americans and European Americans. Child Development, 72, 1832–1843.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Chiu, L. (1987). Child-rearing attitudes of Chinese American, Chinese American-American, and European-American mothers. International Journal of Psychology, 22, 409–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crockett, L. J., Brown, J., Iturbide, M. I., Russell, S. T., & Wilkinson-Lee, A. (2009). Conceptions of parent–adolescent relationships among Cuban American teenagers. Sex Roles, 60, 575–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crockett, L. J., Brown, J., Russell, S. T., & Shen, Y.-L. (2007). The meaning of good parent–child relationships for Mexican American adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17, 639–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Crockett, L. J., Randall, B. A., Shen, Y., Russell, S. T., & Driscoll, A. K. (2005). Measurement equivalence of the center for epidemiological studies depression scale for Latino and Anglo adolescents: A national study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 47–58.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Fuligni, A. J. (1998). Authority, autonomy, and parent–adolescent conflict and cohesion: A study of adolescents from Mexican, Chinese, Filipino, and European backgrounds. Developmental Psychology, 34, 782–792.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Fuligni, A. J., & Pedersen, S. (2002). Family obligation and the transition to young adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 38, 856–868.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Ghorpade, J., Hattrup, K., & Lackritz, J. R. (1999). The use of personality measures in cross-cultural research: A test of three personality scales across two countries. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 670–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Greenfield, P. M. (1994). Independence and interdependence as developmental scripts: Implications for theory, research, and practice. In P. M. Greenfield & R. R. Cocking (Eds.), Cross-cultural roots of minority child development (pp. 1–37), Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  19. Hui, C. H., & Triandis, H. C. (1985). Measurement in cross-cultural psychology. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 16, 131–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jöreskog, K., & Sörbom, D. (1998). LISREL 8: Structural equation modeling with the SIMPLIS command language. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. Julian, T. W., McHenry, P. C., & McKelvey, M. W. (1994). Cultural variations in parenting, perceptions of Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, and Asian American parents. Family Relations, 43, 30–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kelloway, E. K. (1998). Using LISREL for structural equation modeling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  23. Kline, R. B. (1998). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  24. Knight, G. P., & Hill, N. E. (1998). Measurement equivalence in research involving minority adolescents. In V. McLoyd & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Studying minority adolescents: Conceptual, methodological and theoretical issues (pp. 183–210). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  25. Lam, C. (2003). Covert parental control: Parent–adolescent interaction and adolescent development in a Chinese American context. International Journal of Adolescence Medical Health, 15, 63–77.Google Scholar
  26. Lansford, J. E., Chang, L., Dodge, K. A., Malone, P. S., Oburu, P., Palmerus, K., et al. (2005). Physical discipline and children’s adjustment: Cultural normativeness as a moderator. Child Development, 76, 1129–1317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lau, S. Lew, W. J. F., Hau, K. T., Cheung, P. C., & Berndt, T. J. (1990). Relations among perceived parental control, Warmth, indulgence, and family harmony of Chinese American in mainland China. Developmental Psychology, 26, 674–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lin, C. C., & Fu, V. R. (1990). A comparison of child-rearing practices among Chinese American, immigrant Chinese American, and Caucasian-American parents. Child Development, 61(2), Special Issue on Minority Children, 429–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maruyama, G. M. (1998). Basics of structural equation modeling. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  30. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2007). Mplus user’s guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  31. Nomura, N., Noguchi, Y., Saito, S., & Tezuka, I. (1995). Family characteristics and dynamics in Japan and the United States: A preliminary report from the family environment scale. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 19, 59–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pe-Pua, R., & Protacio-Marcelino, E. (2000). Sikolohiyang Pilipino (Filipino psychology): A legacy of Virgilio G. Enriquez. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 3, 49–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rohner, R. P. (1986). The warmth dimension: Foundations of parental acceptance-rejection theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  34. Super, C. M., & Harkness, S. (1986). The developmental niche: A conceptualization at the interface of child and culture. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 9, 545–569.Google Scholar
  35. Udry, J. R. (1998). The national longitudinal study of adolescent health (add health), waves I & II, 1994–1996 [machine-readable data file and documentation]. Chapel Hill, NC: Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina.Google Scholar
  36. Vandenberg, R. J., & Lance, C. E. (2000). A review and synthesis of the measurement invariance literature: Suggestions, practices, and recommendations for organization research. Organizational Research Methods, 3, 4–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wu, C. X., & Chao, R. K. (2005). Intergenerational cultural conflicts for Chinese American youth with immigrant parents: Norms of parental warmth and the consequences. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 29, 516–523.Google Scholar
  38. Youniss, J., & Smollar, J. (1985). Adolescents’ relations with mothers, fathers, and friends. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  39. Yuan, K. H., & Bentler, P. M. (2000). Three likelihood-based methods for mean and covariance structure analysis with nonnormal missing data. In M. E. Sobel & M. P. Becker (Eds.), Sociological methodology 2000 (pp. 165–200). Washington, DC: ASA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa J. Crockett
    • 1
  • Glen J. Veed
    • 1
  • Stephen T. Russell
    • 2
  1. 1.University of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

Personalised recommendations