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Three Forms of Asian-American Mothers’ Indirect Support: Unique Associations with Maternal Predictors and Children’s Outcomes.

Fri, March 22, 7:45 to 9:15am, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 1, Exhibit Hall B

Integrative Statement

In groups of East Asian origin, parents express their support in relatively indirect ways (Wu & Chao, 2011, 2017). In a sample of Chinese Americans, Wu and Chao (2011), via factor analyses, found three indirect ways that parents foster close relationships with their children: 1) thoughtfulness in anticipating children’s needs, 2) sacrifice and devotion to children’s educational needs, and 3) “guan,” which concerns setting expectations and ensuring that children meet those expectations.

In the present study, we asked Korean-American children to complete Wu and Chao’s (2011) three-factor measure discussed above, as well as additional items related to these factors Chao, 2000; Choi, Kim, Pekelnicky & Kim, 2013). We replicated the three factors found by Wu and Chao, using an exploratory factor analysis, presented in Table 1. We then sought to test a) whether parents’ reports of warmth and guan ideology might predict these factors, and b) whether the three factors might differentially predict distinct child outcomes: Specifically, would anticipating children’s needs best predict children’s reports of the bond between themselves and their parents; would parental sacrifice and devotion to children’s educational needs best predict children’s GPA, and would parents’ setting of clear expectations best predict higher levels of children’s prosocial behavior?

To test these ideas, 410 Korean-American mothers (M age = 45.32, SD = 14.14 at Time 1) and their children (M age = 14.76, SD = 3.63; 195 male) provided data at two time points 1 year apart. At Time 1, mothers completed the acceptance subscale from the Parent Acceptance-Rejection Questionnaire (PARQ, Rohner & Khaleque, 2005), as well as Chao’s (1994) measure of guan. Children reported on the three factors of parental indirect expression of support discussed above. At Time 2, children reported on the quality of the bond they had with their mother (Kapinus & Groman, 2004), their GPA, and their levels of prosocial behavior (Lahey, Rathouz, Applegate, Tackett, & Waldman, 2010).

We then performed a path analysis, depicted in Figure 1, using mothers’ reports of warmth and guan at T1 to predict adolescents’ perceptions of the three aspects of indirect parental support at T1. While mothers’ reports of warmth and guan were significantly positively associated, maternal warmth uniquely predicted variance in children’s perceptions of mothers’ thoughtfulness in meeting their needs. Mothers’ reports of guan uniquely predicted children’s perceptions of mothers’ devotion to educational needs and setting clear expectations for children. As expected, only children’s perceptions of mothers’ devotion to their education at T1 predicted variance in GPA at T2. Also as expected, only children’s perceptions of mothers’ thoughtfulness in meeting their needs at T1 predicted their perceptions of the quality of their bond with their mother at T2. Unexpectedly, only the former variable at T1 predicted children’s subsequent levels of prosocial behavior. Discussion focuses on the idea that different aspects of indigenous parental indirect support have unique predictors, and are uniquely associated with children’s outcomes.

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