Time-Varying Associations of Parent–Adolescent Cultural Conflict and Youth Adjustment Among Chinese American Families

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine time-varying associations of parent–adolescent cultural conflict with depressive symptoms and grade point average (GPA) among Chinese Americans from ages 11–22. We pooled two independently collected longitudinal data sets (N = 760 at Wave 1) and used time-varying effect modeling (TVEM) to show that the frequency of parent–adolescent conflict increased during early adolescence (12 years), peaked at mid adolescence (16 years), and gradually decreased throughout late adolescence and young adulthood. In general, parent–adolescent conflict was associated with negative adjustment (more depressive symptoms and lower GPA) more strongly during mid- to late-adolescence (15 to 17 years) compared with other developmental periods. These time-varying associations differed slightly by gender, at least for GPA. Our findings provide important developmental knowledge of parent–adolescent conflict for Chinese American youth and suggest that attention to conflict and links to adjustment is especially relevant during mid to late adolescence. Our study also illustrates the usefulness of integrative data analysis and TVEM to investigate how the strength of conflict-adjustment associations might change throughout development.

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