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Cultural Orientation and Parent Emotion in the Chinese American Immigrant Family:


The present dissertation used a developmental, sociocultural models approach to culture and emotion, and examined the prospective relations of immigrant parents' cultural orientations and their expression of emotion in the family context. Chinese American immigrant parents (n=210) with elementary-aged children were assessed at two time points approximately two years apart. Parents reported on their own and their children's patterns of engagement in both Chinese and American cultural domains. Parents also reported on their patterns of emotional expression in the family context (positive, negative dominant, and negative submissive emotion), and their endorsement of emotion-relevant values (collectivism, conformity, emotional control, and ideals toward high/low arousal positive and negative affect).

Main analyses were conducted using structural equation modeling. Results indicated that parents' greater engagement in Chinese cultural domains predicted their lower expression of negative emotion in the family context. Parents' engagement in cultural domains positively predicted their endorsement of emotion-relevant values; however, across models, parents' endorsement of emotion-relevant values did not mediate prospective effects of parents' cultural engagement on their emotional expression. Finally, differences between parents' and children's orientations to Chinese culture predicted parents' lower expression of positive and negative submissive emotion in the family context.

Results underscore the relevance of the family context in the transmission of cultural norms toward emotional expression. Implications of these findings for developmentally-informed approaches to the study of culture and emotion are discussed.

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