The acculturation gap-distress hypothesis among high-risk Mexican American families.J Fam Psychol. 2005 Sep; 19(3):367-75.JF
The authors tested the acculturation gap-distress hypothesis by examining whether parent-adolescent acculturation gaps were associated with greater conflict and youth conduct problems among 260 high-risk Mexican American families. The authors operationalized acculturation gaps in 2 ways: parent-youth mismatches in acculturation style, and parent-youth discrepancies in acculturation toward both mainstream and heritage cultures. Acculturation gaps were common, but results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated that parent-youth discrepancies in acculturation toward mainstream and heritage cultures were not related to increased conflict or youth conduct problems. Conduct problems were no higher in families in which the adolescent was more aligned with mainstream culture than the parent. Unexpectedly, the authors found more youth conduct problems in families in which the youth was more aligned with traditional culture than the parent. The results call into question the assumption that the more rapid acculturation of adolescents to American culture inevitably leads to distress in minority families.