Extending Research on the Consequences of Parenting Style for Chinese Americans and European Americans

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of parent–adolescent relationships on school performance to provide a clearer understanding of why authoritative parenting does not have as beneficial effects for Asian Americans as it does for European Americans. Over 500 adolescents of Chinese- (148 first and 176 second generation) and European-descent (208 primarily third generation or more) families from seven different high schools completed measures of (1) parenting style, (2) parent–adolescent closeness (cohesion subscale from the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Environment Scales II and relationship satisfaction), and (3) school performance. Positive effects of both authoritative parenting and relationship closeness on school performance were found for European Americans and, to some extent, second-generation Chinese, but not first-generation Chinese. These effects were also stronger for European Americans than first-generation Chinese. Through examination of the mediating role of parent–adolescent relationships, this study also found that among European American families, the beneficial effects of authoritative parenting are explained through relationship closeness.

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