Older Chinese Immigrants’ Relationships With Their Children: A Literature Review From a Solidarity–Conflict Perspective

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Purpose of the Study:

Older Chinese immigrants are one of the largest and fastest growing groups in Western societies. This article used the solidarity–conflict model to synthesize current research examining parent–child relationships in this group.


A comprehensive literature search was conducted in the CINAHL, Medline, and PubMed databases to identify relevant articles. A narrative approach was used to review the literature.


Thirty-six articles were identified. Compared with Caucasians, older Chinese immigrants are more likely to live with children and have higher filial expectations. However, considerable numbers live independently. Of these, most live in public housing and rely on the community rather than their children for instrumental help. Many older Chinese immigrants have adjusted their filial expectations and valued being independent. They also provide extensive household help to their children. There are indications of intergenerational conflict, probably due to generational differences in attitudes toward life and limited intergenerational contact.


This review suggests that although filial piety continues to influence older parent–child relationship in Chinese immigrant families, many changes have occurred. These findings have important implications for service planning and delivery for this cultural group. This review also provides evidence for the utility of the solidarity–conflict model.

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