A study of the parent role: The Chinese-American perspective

Linda Moy Shum, Pace University


Psychologists who work with children have come to develop a deep appreciation for the significant role parents can play in the facilitation of children's psychoeducational growth, at all stages of development The Parent Role Development Model (PRDM) (Mowder, 199la, 1991b) is a theoretical guide which can be used to understand an individual's perception of the parent role, how it develops over time, and how it shifts and changes in response to the developmental stages of a child as his or her progression is made from birth to adulthood. Based on this model, the Parent Role Questionnaire (PRQ) (Mowder, 1992) was developed to investigate parent perceptions through the PRDM framework. Relatively little research has been done in this area to define specifically what a parent conceptualizes his or her role to be as a "parent", and while there have been studies which delineate more global styles of parenting, the parent's individual perception of what he or she does needs also to be considered and understood. The Chinese-American population is one with a history of noted underutilization of psychological services developed primarily from a traditionally Western perspective, and this is a concern. A better understanding of how to work with Chinese-American parents needs to be explored since resistance by parents to services can potentially place children of this population at risk and/or undermine the interventions that have already been implemented. In this study questionnaire data was collected from the obstetric and pediatric clinics of a lower Manhattan hospital. The PRQ, in English and translated (Chinese) forms, was administered to 103 participants to sample Chinese-American attitudes on parenting. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were conducted to assess the Chinese-American conceptualization of the parent role. The data suggest that Chinese-American respondents define a parent role that includes the parent characteristics as defined by the PRDM. The results reveal developmental trends involving the importance placed on the parent characteristics by the subjects. Results also indicate that the subject's age, sex and experiences of already being a parent do influence aspects of the perception of the parent role characteristics. Cultural factors influencing the use of the PRQ are discussed, as well as the implications for future research and practice with parents. With this understanding, psychologists may then communicate more meaningfully with parents regarding their children, particularly in discussing assessments and interventions.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Social psychology|Developmental psychology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Shum, Linda Moy, "A study of the parent role: The Chinese-American perspective" (1997). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9711875.



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