Parental Beliefs and Their Relation to the Parental Practices of Immigrant Chinese Americans and European Americans

Part of the Advancing Responsible Adolescent Development book series (ARAD)


This study examines the different parental beliefs that influence the parental practices of Chinese immigrants and European Americans. The sample comprised 307 Chinese (116 first-generation and 191 second-generation) and 280 European American (primarily third-generation and later) adolescents and their parents (the primary caregiver). Both adolescents and their parents provided reports of parental control and warmth, and parents also provided reports of their parental beliefs. The results indicated that based on both adolescents’ and parents’ reports, Chinese Americans endorsed parental control behaviors and Confucian parental goals more than European Americans. However, in looking at the types of control endorsed most by the Chinese Americans, two components of guan (Contingent Autonomy and Explains Obedience) were endorsed or practiced to a greater extent than behavioral control. In analyses that examined the relations among parenting goals and control practices, parental control was more strongly related to Confucian goals among Chinese American immigrants than European Americans. In some cases, though, both Confucian and child-centered goals influenced the parental control (i.e., Contingent Autonomy) of immigrant Chinese American parents. This study provides an empirical demonstration of cultural processes that influence parental practices through the construct of parental goals (i.e., Confucian and child-centered); little prior research has attempted to directly assess cultural processes. Our findings underscore the importance of cultural “meanings” attributed to parenting practices.


Parent Report Behavioral Control Parenting Practice Parental Warmth American Parent 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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