Youths' imitation and de-identification from parents: a process associated with parent-youth cultural incongruence in Mexican-American families.J Youth Adolesc. 2014 Dec; 43(12):2028-40.JY
Cultural adaptation and parent-youth cultural incongruence have strong implications for individuals' social adaptation and family dynamics. This study highlighted adolescents' active role in parent-youth cultural incongruence through their decision to imitate or de-identify from parents, parent-youth warmth, and demographic similarities. Longitudinal data, spanning 8 years, from 246 Mexican-American families (mothers, fathers, and an early adolescent child), were used to address two study goals. The first goal was to link parent-youth relationship qualities and demographic similarities (i.e., gender, immigration status) at Wave 1 to adolescents' imitation and de-identification from parents at Wave 2. Findings revealed that adolescents who reported more parent-youth warmth reported more imitation and less de-identification. Also, adolescents who belonged to U.S.-raised dyads reported less de-identification. The second goal tested adolescents' reports of imitation and de-identification as predictors of parent-youth cultural incongruence in Mexican and Anglo cultural orientations at Wave 3. Results indicated that more imitation was associated with less mother-youth Anglo incongruence and that more de-identification was associated with more father-youth Anglo and Mexican incongruence. The unique relationship dynamics of mother-youth and father-youth dyads and the implications for intervention programming focused on reducing cultural incongruence and increasing family cohesion are discussed.