A CULTURALLY GUIDED EXAMINATION OF PARENTING AND PRESCHOOLERS' SOCIO-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN ASIAN AMERICAN FAMILIES
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This dissertations project sought to examine unique patterns in Asian American mothers' socialization goals, the determinants (i.e., racial discrimination) that undermine their socialization practices (i.e., psychologically controlling parenting), as well as the contributions of maternal socialization goals and practices to children's positive development (i.e., socio-emotional school readiness) and negative outcomes (i.e., social withdrawal and peer exclusion) in the United States. The first paper investigated underlying groups in Asian American mothers' socialization goals and examined potential differences in children's socioemotional school readiness (i.e., prosocial behaviors, sociability, and on-task behaviors) between the different classes. One hundred and ninety three Chinese and Korean immigrant mothers and their preschoolers participated. Two different patterns of mothers' socialization goals were identified, with most mothers (86%) highly emphasizing autonomy-oriented and relatedness-oriented goals (class 1), whereas 14% mothers endorsing relatedness-oriented goals at high level but emphasizing autonomy-oriented goals at low levels (class 2). Moreover, children of mothers in class 1 were more sociable and on-task, compared to children with mothers in class 2. The second paper explored the associations between the experiences of racial discrimination and three sub-dimensions of psychologically controlling parenting among 226 Chinese American mothers by considering the mediating roles of negative (depressive symptoms) and positive (psychological well-being) psychological functioning and the moderating role of maternal acculturation towards the mainstream culture. Maternal racial discrimination was both directly and indirectly (through depressive symptoms but not psychological well-being) associated with all three sub-dimensions of psychological control (i.e., love withdrawal, guilt induction, and shaming practices). Importantly, the indirect associations through depressive symptoms were further moderated by maternal acculturation towards the mainstream American culture. Specifically, racial discrimination was not significantly associated with three sub-dimensions of psychological control through depressive symptoms among mothers with high levels of acculturation towards American culture. The third study aimed to advance our understanding regarding the directionality in the associations between Chinese American mothers' intrusive overcontrol and children's reticence and peer exclusion experience by investigating their bidirectional relations using a longitudinal design. The moderating role of gender was also examined in the reciprocal associations. Chinese American mothers and their preschoolers in the U.S. participated (n = 226 at Time 1, n = 163 at Time 2). The findings showed the parent-driven effects of maternal intrusive overcontrol with mothers' overcontrol predicting more children's reticence among both boys and girls, and leading to more peer exclusion only among boys but not girls. However, the child-driven effects of children's reticence and peer exclusion on maternal intrusive overcontrol were not significant. Together, these findings can contribute to broadening our theoretical and practical understanding of culturally infused socialization goals and practices among Asian American families, their determinants, and their contributions to children's positive and negative development in the U.S.