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Parent-Adolescent Language Use and Relationships Among Immigrant Families With East Asian, Filipino, and Latin American Backgrounds

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Abstract

This study examined differences in the quality of relationships between immigrant parents and their adolescent children as a function of the languages with which they speak to one another. Over 620 adolescents with East Asian, Filipino, and Latin American backgrounds completed measures on parent-adolescent language use and relationships. Adolescents who spoke in different languages with their parents reported less cohesion and discussion with their mothers and fathers than did their peers who spoke the same language with their parents. Adolescents who mutually communicated in the native language with their parents reported the highest levels of cohesion and discussion. Longitudinal analyses indicated that whereas language use did not predict differential changes in parent-adolescent relationships over a 2-year period, the quality of relationships did predict changes in language use. The associations between language use and relationships generally existed regardless of the families' ethnic and demographic backgrounds, and these associations did not vary across families of different backgrounds.

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