The Impact of Racial Discrimination on Chinese American Parenting and Adolescents? Psychological and Behavioral Adjustment


Author/Creator ORCID







Citation of Original Publication


This item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by UMBC for non-commercial research and education. For permission to publish or reproduce, please see or contact Special Collections at speccoll(at)
Access limited to the UMBC community. Item may possibly be obtained via Interlibrary Loan through a local library, pending author/copyright holder's permission.
Access limited to the UMBC community. Item may possibly be obtained via Interlibrary Loan thorugh a local library, pending author/copyright holder's permission.


Chinese Americans have historically experienced various forms of racism and xenophobia in the United States. These negative sentiments have been refueled by the racialized COVID-19 pandemic and pose challenges to the development of Chinese American families. Across three papers, this dissertation project aimed to understand how Chinese American families? experiences of racial discrimination may impact their parenting and adolescents? psychological and behavioral adjustment. The first paper examined the longitudinal association between Chinese American mothers? experiences of racial discrimination and their authoritarian parenting with young children before the COVID-19 pandemic. Mothers who experienced more racial discrimination stress reported greater depressive symptoms, which in turn, were associated with higher levels of authoritarian parenting six months later. Furthermore, the association between experiences of racial discrimination and mothers? depressive symptoms was buffered by their behavioral acculturation towards the mainstream U.S. culture and exacerbated by their behavioral acculturation towards their heritage Chinese culture. The second paper utilized a person-centered approach to examine the impact of COVID-19-related racial discrimination on Chinese American adolescents? mental health. Three profiles of adolescents were identified based on their ethnic identity, bicultural identity integration, and behavioral acculturation. The profile type, adolescent gender, and their interactions moderated the associations between experiences of direct and vicarious forms of racial discrimination and adolescent anxiety. The results revealed unique resilience and vulnerabilities among Chinese American adolescent boys and girls characterized by distinct patterns of identity and acculturation profiles. The third paper explored the age-varying associations between COVID-19-related racial discrimination and Chinese American adolescents? political civic engagement using a sample of 10- to 18-year-old adolescents. Experiences of racial discrimination were negatively associated with political civic participation during middle adolescence. Chinese American girls were more susceptible to the negative impact of racial discrimination on their political civic engagement than boys across middle and late adolescence. For adolescents with higher levels of ethnic identity affirmation and those who received more parental civic socialization, experiences of racial discrimination were associated with greater political civic engagement across adolescence. Overall, this dissertation project highlighted the detrimental influences of racial discrimination on various aspects of the adjustment of Chinese American families. Together, these findings can inform culturally and developmentally sensitive prevention and intervention efforts that promote the positive development of Chinese American families in the face of racial discrimination.