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

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 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NebraskaLincolnUSA
  2. 2.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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