The Influence of Parent Expectations and Parent-Child Relationships on Mental Health in Asian American and White American Families

Natasha Warikoo, Mark Chin, Nicole Zillmer, Suniya Luthar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that Asian parents’ high academic expectations can lead to negative mental health outcomes among Asian American youth. We explore this hypothesis by analyzing data collected in an affluent, suburban high school with a large Asian American population. We examine the relationships between parent expectations, students’ relationships with their parents, and mental health outcomes among Asian American (predominantly Indian American and Chinese American) and white youth. We find that the quality of parent-child relationships is associated with mental health outcomes and that the association between parent expectations and mental health outcomes is insignificant after controlling for these relationships. We discuss significant differences by race and gender. The findings presented expand our understanding of the influence of Asian parents. They suggest that focusing on improving parent-child relationships, as opposed to altering parents’ expectations, might lead to improved mental health outcomes for Asian American youth, particularly for those in affluent communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-296
Number of pages22
JournalSociological Forum
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Keywords

  • Asians
  • gender
  • mental health outcomes
  • parent-child relations
  • parental expectations
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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