Bicultural Identity and Parent-Child Relationships
What constitutes healthy relationships between parents and youth? Many studies have attempted to answer this multifaceted question, but few specifically focus on Asian American families. This means that crucial questions revolving around cultural contexts are often missed. For instance, what does it look like for parents and children to navigate two cultures? What role does bicultural identity play in adolescent development?
The ML-SAAF project was started in 2013 to answer such questions. ML-SAAF follows over 800 Filipino American and Korean American families over the course of four years with the aim of understanding how parents can best support youth as they navigate issues of acculturation, assimilation, and adaptation. Directed out of the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, ML-SAAF is the only research project of its kind and is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
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ML-SAAF Blog Posts
Catch up with current events and issues in the Asian-American community! Interested in seeing more? Check out our blog here.
Professor Choi's New Book!
ML-SAAF's Principal Investigator, Professor Choi, is the co-editor of the book Asian American Parenting. The newly edited work will be published in September of 2017! Check out this Facebook page for more information. Here is an introduction from the publisher:
The book explores the cultural intricacies of Asian American parenting, brushing aside the stereotypical image of the 'Tiger Mom.' One chapter specifically focuses on ML-SAAF and the data obtained from the ongoing study. This book addresses topics such as the rising challenges and opportunities of uncertain times for Asian American families, socioeconomic status and child/youth outcomes in Asian American families, and daily associations between adolescents’ race-related experiences and family processes.
Want to know more about Professor Choi and her work in youth development from a cultural perspective? See her bio here and learn about her many publications here!
Click here to learn more about the book!
"This important text offers data-rich guidelines for conducting culturally relevant and clinically effective intervention with Asian American families. Delving beneath longstanding generalizations and assumptions that have often hampered intervention with this diverse and growing population, expert contributors analyze the intricate dynamics of generational conflict and child development in Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and other Asian American households. Wide-angle coverage identifies critical factors shaping Asian American family process, from parenting styles, behaviors, and values to adjustment and autonomy issues across childhood and adolescence, including problems specific to girls and young women. Contributors also make extensive use of quantitative and qualitative findings in addressing the myriad paradoxes surrounding Asian identity, acculturation, and socialization in contemporary America."
Our Newest ML-SAAF Research Paper
"Culture and Family Process: Measures of Familism for Filipino and Korean American Parents"
The most recent set of ML-SAAF findings are out! One key finding is that Filipino American families tend to express more traditional aspects of familism than Korean American families do. Further, they're more likely to reinforce these traditional familism behaviors on their children. Curious about what familism is, and what else has been revealed about Asian American values, beliefs, and family dynamics? Read on!
However, studying familism is complicated. There are over 20 Asian American subgroups with distinct cultural characteristics, and conventional measures often treat these subgroups as one group. ML-SAAF aims to analyze existing measures of familism and help develop new ones by studying Filipino and Korean American families. Our research focused on eight aspects of Asian American familism: 1) Traditional Manners and Etiquettes; 2) Respect for Adults; 3) Caring for Aging Parents; 4) Centrality of Family: Values; 5) Centrality of Family: Behaviors; 6) Harmony and Sacrifice; 7) Family Obligation Expectation; and 8) Family Obligation on Daughters.
Filipino American parents reported higher adherence to all but one of these domains of familism. Although Korean American parents also strongly endorsed traditional values, Filipino Americans are perhaps more traditional with respect to familism than their Korean American counterparts. Korean American parents may be loosening some traditional family values to accommodate sociocultural changes for their children, while Filipino American parents show some more desire to pass on culturally traditional expectations.
Traditional values of familism seem to remain strong in both Korean and Filipino American parents. However, Filipino American parents may express some stronger endorsement of traditional family interactions while still being well-assimilated in many aspects, such as in language. They give particular importance to supporting and sacrificing for the family and expect the same from their children. Their scope of the term "family" may be more extensive, covering distant relatives; Korean Americans tend to focus inward on the nuclear family.
Click here to download the full version of the paper!
Familism is a social structure that places an emphasis on the collective needs of the family. It encourages a deep sense of familial obligation and orientation, and is one of the most distinctive characteristics of Asian culture. It may even play a crucial role in the growth and development of Asian American youth. For example, familism might serve as a protective factor for developing youth, so a nuanced understanding of it is critical.
ML-SAAF in the SSA Magazine
ML-SAAF was recently featured in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration's magazine! Our study's Principal Investigator, Professor Choi, debunks the stereotype of painting Asian Americans with one brush. Learn more about the impact that ML-SAAF is making: click HERE to download the pdf version of the excerpt, and HERE for the online version of the SSA article.
"Growing Up Korean American (코리안 어메리칸으로 성장하기)"
This past May, the Research Center for Korean Community (RCKC) hosted their second seminar of 2018. Our very own ML-SAAF Principal Investigator, Dr. Yoonsun Choi, gave a talk, "Growing Up Korean American (코리안 어메리칸으로 성장하기)." Dr. Choi integrated several recent studies she has been working on, including findings from ML-SAAF. Exploring how the immigrant parent generation often maintains Korean cultural traditions, she also spoke about how some of these traditions persevere among second-generation youth. Further, Dr. Choi discussed the impact of youth acculturation in family processes and their own development. A large theme of the talk was that biculturalism, although overall a potentially positive factor, is much more complicated than current literature suggests. Tune in below!
Harvard Admissions on Trial
10/15: Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College
On October 15th, the Boston District Court trial against Harvard will begin. On Sunday, the day before the trial, a community rally against Harvard will be held in Copley Square. Those planning to participate in the rally look to speak out on why Harvard should be ashamed of its admissions policies, and how the Fellows of the Harvard Corporation have breached their fiduciary duty to Harvard.
Brief Overview of Alleged Discrimination of Asian-American Students
Harvard has found itself in the middle of a roiling controversy around its "personality rating" factor in the admissions process rating Asian American applicants lower than other races. The yellow bar in the graph below compares Asian American to white applicants.
Q&A with Dr. Shien Biau Woo (President, 80-20 Educational Foundation)
Q: Are there Asian Americans who are well-known to and influential with Harvard?
A: YES! There are quite a few such persons. First and foremost, there is William Lee. He is a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the governing board of Harvard. He is also the lead trial lawyer from the law firm of WilmerHale to defend Harvard in this lawsuit. Shown below is a recent picture of him with Harvard's new President Lawrence Bacow (left), holding the Harvard charter.
There are also big donors like (1) the family of Elaine Chao which donated $40 million to Harvard Business School and have a building named after a member of her family, and (2) Brothers Ronnie and Gerald Chan who donated $350 million to Harvard, and have a building named after their father.
Q: What could have caused Harvard to rate the personality of Asian Americans much worse than others, if discrimination was not the reason? Why weren't members of the Harvard Corporation alarmed when the average personality of Asian American applicants was rated much lower than those of other races? Has Harvard's governing Board interacted sufficiently with the above named individuals to know that Asian Americans have a lovely average personality, or at least a personality that is no worse or better than other human being?
A: Great questions! I've also puzzled over that apparent contradiction for a long time. I can't possibly imagine that these individuals could actually have given Harvard the bad impression. Could they?
Our Newest Study Updates: Racial Socialization
First, what is racial socialization?
Racial socialization is the process that prepares racial minority children for the challenges of discrimination. Largely, there are two different types of racial socialization: preparation for bias and promotion of mistrust.
Preparation of bias is about parents discussing racial discrimination or bias that might happen to their children.
Promotion of mistrust refers to parents socializing their children to avoid engagement with people of other racial groups.
Racial socialization is increasingly being recognized as an important familial process for ethnic minority families, and for a long time has been understood as a protective factor for Asian American adolescents. However, not all types of racial socialization are helpful for Asian American adolescents—and not everyone benefits from the same type of racial socialization.
What has the ML-SAAF team discovered?
A study by the ML-SAAF team resolved one suspicion around racial socialization. It had been suspected that while racial socialization served as a protective factor, it negatively affected depressive symptoms of Asian American youth.
Our study fine-tuned this view, showing that it is not racial socialization itself but the heightened perception of racial discrimination that increases mental distress among Asian American youth. As they become more aware of racial discrimination via racial socialization, Asian American youth perceive increased racial discrimination, which in turn leads to increased mental distress.
So how is racial socialization a protective factor for Asian American youth?
Another ML-SAAF study revealed that racial socialization alleviates mental distress when youth perceive racial discrimination against them only in particular cases. Our study found that racial socialization buffers the negative effect of perceived racial discrimination only among U.S.-born Asian Americans. Also, the distress-alleviating effect of the promotion of mistrust on Asian American youth when they faced racial discrimination was only seen among Filipino youth.
Importantly, our studies indicate that the use of racial socialization to minimize the negative impacts of discrimination on youth development is unlikely to be successful without careful consideration of nuanced differences between different Asian subgroups.
Professor Choi featured in a new video:
“How Diversity Enhances the Contributions of Developmental Science”
Watch our very own Chief Investigator, Professor Yoonsun Choi, featured in the above video concerning the role that diversity plays in child development! Read on for more information from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)...
New “Hidden Figures” Video:
How Diversity Enhances the Contributions of Developmental Science
SRCD is pleased to share “How Diversity Enhances the Contributions of Developmental Science,” the third of four videos produced as part of the “Hidden Figures” in Developmental Science series. The project, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, aims to increase the visibility of leading developmental scientists of color who have made critical research contributions and paved the way, through mentoring and advocacy, for younger scholars of color.
This new video features the following scholars:
Dr. Yoonsun Choi, Professor of The School of Social Service Administration, The University of Chicago
Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer, Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education & Life Course Human Development, The University of Chicago
Dr. Cynthia García Coll, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Charles Pitts Robinson and John Palmer Barstow Professor Emerita, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus
Dr. Diane Hughes, Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt
For the full list of scholars featured in the series and links to the first two videos, visit the Teaching Resources Webpage.