Parent-child acculturation profiles as predictors of Chinese American adolescents' academic trajectories.J Youth Adolesc. 2015 Jun; 44(6):1263-74.JY
Acculturation plays a critical role in the adjustment of Asian Americans, as a large proportion of them are immigrants in the US. However, little is known about how acculturation influences Asian American adolescents' academic trajectories over time. Using a longitudinal sample of 444 Chinese American families (54% female children), the current study explored the effect of mothers', fathers', and adolescents' individual acculturation profiles and parent-child acculturation dissonance on adolescents' academic trajectories from 8th to 12th grade. Academic performance was measured by grade point average (GPA), and by standardized test scores in English language arts (ELA) and Math every year. Latent growth modeling analyses showed that adolescents with a Chinese-oriented father showed faster decline in GPA, and Chinese-oriented adolescents had lower initial ELA scores. Adolescents whose parents had American-oriented acculturation profiles tended to have lower initial Math scores. These results suggest that Chinese and American profiles may be disadvantageous for certain aspects of academic performance, and bicultural adolescents and/or adolescents with bicultural parents are best positioned to achieve across multiple domains. In terms of the role of parent-child acculturation dissonance on academic trajectories, the current study highlighted the importance of distinguishing among different types of dissonance. Adolescents who were more Chinese-oriented than their parents tended to have the lowest initial ELA scores, and adolescents experiencing more normative acculturation dissonance (i.e., who were more American-oriented than their parents) had the highest initial ELA scores. No effects of parent-child acculturation dissonance were observed for GPAs or standardized Math scores. Altogether, the current findings add nuances to the current understanding of acculturation and adolescent adjustment.