Antecedents of parenting efficacy among Chinese immigrant parents in Canada




Dokis, Daphne Patricia

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Parents’ beliefs about their ability to competently fulfill the duties of the parenting role have received limited research attention. The literature to date has emphasized the correlates and consequences of this construct, but relatively little work has examined factors that promote the development of parents’ efficacy beliefs. This dissertation research fills this gap by investigating predictors of parenting efficacy beliefs among immigrant Chinese families in Western Canada. Parenting efficacy beliefs were predicted to be influenced by support and encouragement from like-minded peers, and the successful completion of parenting tasks (mastery). This research explored these hypotheses by evaluating three questions. First, the research evaluated whether the receipt of support from Chinese- and Canadian-based sources, as well as spousal support would be associated with higher levels of parenting efficacy, as well as whether this association varied based on immigrant parents’ social context. There was no evidence that parents’ use of Chinese and Canadian supports was associated with feelings of efficacy, regardless of parents’ social context. The hypothesis that spousal support would be positively associated with parenting efficacy was supported for mothers, but not fathers. The second question evaluated whether mastery experiences, in the form of positive adolescent development in the domains of achievement, traditional Asian values and behavioural participation in the Chinese culture, were positively associated with parenting efficacy. There was no evidence of any main effects for these domains of adolescent functioning on parents’ feelings of efficacy. Third, the research evaluated parents’ socialization goals as a possible moderator of the association between adolescent development and parenting efficacy. It was hypothesized that the association between a domain of adolescent development and parenting efficacy would be strongest among parents who most strongly endorsed that domain as a socialization goal. This hypothesis was supported within domains of cultural development, but not academic achievement, and there was a different pattern of results for fathers and mothers. There was also an unexpectedly strong positive association between parents’ interdependence goals and feelings of parenting efficacy. Overall, the results suggested that feelings of parenting efficacy were relatively robust in the face of challenges associated with immigration (e.g., loss of support from culturally relevant sources) and minor violations of parents’ socialization goals. Furthermore, the results emphasized cultural retention as an important predictor of parenting efficacy. The results suggest two avenues of intervention that may assist in promoting feelings of parenting competence among immigrant Chinese parents: the development of a strong co-parenting relationship and the provision of support for cultural retention.



Chinese Parenting, Self efficacy, Parenting Cognitions, Immigration, Adolescent Development