Intergenerational acculturation conflict in immigrant families has been implicated as a risk factor for adolescent maladjustment. However, the directionality and specific family related mediators of this association have not been identified. The present study prospectively examined relations between adolescent reports of perceived acculturation conflict and internalizing and externalizing mental health symptoms. Perceived parent-adolescent relationship strain and perceived parental psychological control were examined as potential mediators.
Survey measures were administered to 375 Vietnamese American adolescents (48.8% males; M = 15.55 years, SD = .59) at 3 time points over 6 months.
Using cross-lagged path analysis, perceived acculturation conflict predicted externalizing symptoms, whereas internalizing symptoms predicted perceived acculturation conflict. Perceived maternal psychological control mediated the association between perceived acculturation conflict and later externalizing symptoms, whereas maternal psychological control, parental unresponsiveness, and unmet parent expectations mediated the association between internalizing symptoms and later acculturation conflict.
Culturally competent enhancement of parental sensitivity and responsiveness might be targeted as a modifiable protective factor in family-based preventive interventions for at-risk immigrant families. (PsycINFO Database Record