The Acculturation of Chinese-American Adolescents in Negotiating Autonomy and Connectedness: Comparison between Chinese- and European-Americans



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Chinese-American adolescents were compared with the major group in the United States (European-American adolescents) in negotiating self-concepts related with autonomy and connectedness. Senses of autonomy and connectedness were evaluated by examining adolescents' cultural value orientations (individualism and collectivism), parent-adolescent relationships (decision-making styles and power perception), and relations between the two constructs. Participants included 56 first- or second-generation Chinese-American adolescents (18.5% of first-generation and 81.5% of secondgeneration) and 45 European-American adolescents, accompanied with their mothers (47 Chinese-American mothers and 42 European-American mothers). In terms of cultural value orientations, Chinese- and European-Americans' selfconcepts were consistently oriented towards collectivism more than individualism in adolescents and mothers. With regard to parent-adolescent relationships, Chinese- American adolescents have identified with the dominant culture to show similar desires of being autonomous as European-American adolescents. However, Chinese-American mothers adopted more authoritarian, conservative, and inflexible parenting styles than European-American mothers. With regard to the relations between variables of cultural value orientations and variables of parent-adolescent relationships, the pattern of findings was consistent with the notion that Chinese-American adolescents who internalize highly collectivistic cultural values displayed more collectivistic communication styles in parent-adolescent relationships than European-American adolescents.