A Person-Centred Analysis of Triadic Acculturation Gaps in Chinese Canadian Immigrant Families




Li, Jie

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Past research on the impacts of acculturation gaps among immigrant family members has yielded inconclusive results potentially due to inconsistent analytical methods, lack of consideration of family processes, and discrepant conceptualizations of acculturation. With a sample of 161 Chinese Canadian immigrant families, the current study adopted a person-centred approach with a family lens to examine the nature of acculturation gaps and how these gaps were associated with family functioning and individual psychological adjustment. Latent profile analyses were utilized to generate mother-father-child acculturation profiles based on individual reports of acculturation (in the domains of cultural identity and value, separately) from mothers, fathers, and children in the same family. The results identified five family acculturation profiles in the identity domain and four family acculturation profiles in the value domain. Parents’ cultural disengagement was linked to the most positive psychological wellbeing and family relationships for all family members. The expected acculturation gaps in the Canadian host dimension were not found to be associated with the most depressive symptoms or family conflicts, suggesting that acculturation gaps where adolescents were more acculturated to the host culture than their parents may be normative in immigrant families and thus not linked to youth maladjustment. In contrast, the reversed acculturation gaps in the host dimension and the expected acculturation gaps in the heritage dimension were consistently found to be associated with family conflicts and individual psychological distress. The results also revealed an undifferentiated acculturation style that was not outlined in Berry’s model. An undifferentiated style was characterized by average acculturation levels on both the heritage and host dimensions, and it was the most prevalent individual acculturation style in the identity domain and the second most prevalent style in the value domain. Directions for future research and the benefits of using a person-centered approach in the research of acculturation gaps are discussed.



immigrant families, acculturation gaps, adolescents, person-centered approach, psychology