Acculturation and adjustment among immigrant Chinese parents: mediating role of parenting efficacy

J Couns Psychol. 2011 Apr;58(2):183-96. doi: 10.1037/a0021696.


This study examined parenting efficacy beliefs as a mediator of the association between acculturation and adjustment. The sample consisted of 177 immigrant Chinese mothers and fathers with early adolescent children in Canada. Acculturation was assessed bidimensionally as Canadian and Chinese orientations. A latent psychological adjustment variable was composed of symptoms of depression, feelings of self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Results showed that relations between Canadian orientation and psychological adjustment were partially mediated by parenting efficacy. As expected, the more parents were oriented toward Canadian culture, the more efficacious they felt in their parenting, which in turn was associated with better psychological adjustment. In contrast, mediation of relations between Chinese orientation and psychological adjustment was not supported, as Chinese orientation was not associated with parenting efficacy and was positively associated with psychological adjustment for mothers only. Similar results were found when the meditational model was extended to evaluate parenting practices as an outcome (i.e., warmth, reasoning, and monitoring). That is, parenting efficacy mediated the relation between higher Canadian orientation and more positive parenting practices, whereas Chinese orientation was unrelated to parenting practices. Invariance testing suggested that the models were similar for mothers and fathers. Results support the theory that higher orientation to Canadian culture may advance feelings of parenting efficacy because parents have the cultural knowledge and skills to feel confident parenting in a new intercultural context. Further, they support the expectation that parenting efficacy beliefs, in turn, are important determinants of psychological adjustment and effective parenting for immigrant parents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • China / ethnology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Adjustment*