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Keywords:

  • Culture Education;
  • Focus Groups;
  • Health Disparities;
  • Parenting;
  • Psychology

Background

Asian Americans are one of the fastest-growing minority groups in the USA, and Chinese constitute the largest group. Evidence suggests that Asian American adolescents experience higher levels of depressive symptoms than their same-gender white counterparts. Quantitative findings suggest associations between parenting factors and Chinese American adolescents' mental health. A qualitative understanding regarding Chinese American adolescents' perceived parenting styles and its relationship with adolescents' psychosocial health is warranted.

Aim

To gain an in-depth understanding of Chinese American adolescents' perceived parenting styles and how parenting styles might influence adolescents' psychosocial health.

Methods

In this qualitative study, we recruited 15 Chinese American adolescents aged 12–17 years in a southwest metropolitan area. We conducted two focus group interviews. Participants also filled out a brief questionnaire that included their socio-demographic information, immigration history and level of acculturation.

Results

Participants reported perceiving that parents had high expectations about academic performance and moral values. They also perceived stricter family rules regarding choices of friends compared with their non-Asian peers. Parents tended to be more protective of girls than of boys. Both Chinese American boys and girls reported poor or ineffective communication with their parents, which contributed to increased conflict between parents and adolescents and emotional distress of the adolescents.

Conclusions

The findings provide evidence for nurses to develop linguistically and culturally tailored resources (e.g. parent support groups, programs aimed to improving parent–child communication) or connect these families with existing resources to enhance parenting skills and consequently reduce emotional distress of their adolescent children.