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Neighborhood Characteristics, Parenting Styles, and Children’s Behavioral Problems in Chinese American Immigrant Families

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Using data from a socioeconomically diverse sample of Chinese American children (n = 258, aged 6-9 years) in immigrant families, we examined the concurrent relations among neighborhood economic disadvantage and concentration of Asian residents, parenting styles, and Chinese American children's externalizing and internalizing problems. Neighborhood characteristics were measured with 2000 U.S. Census tract-level data, parents (mostly mothers) rated their own parenting styles, and parents and teachers rated children's behavioral problems. Path analysis was conducted to test two hypotheses: (a) parenting styles mediate the relations between neighborhood characteristics and children's behavioral problems, and (b) children's behavioral problems mediate the relations between neighborhood and parenting styles. We found that neighborhood Asian concentration was positively associated with authoritarian parenting, which in turn was associated with Chinese American children's higher externalizing and internalizing problems (by parents' reports). In addition, neighborhood economic disadvantage was positively related to children's externalizing problems (by parents' reports), which in turn predicted lower authoritative parenting. The current results suggest the need to consider multiple pathways in the relations among neighborhood, family, and child adjustment, and they have implications for the prevention and intervention of behavioral problems in Chinese American children.

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