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11-01-2019 | Original Paper

Identity Synthesis as a Pathway Linking Parenting and Emerging Adults’ Internalizing Problems

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Auteurs:
Xiaoli Zong, Charissa S. L. Cheah, Jing Yu, Hui Jun Lim, Kathy T. T. Vu, Nneka Opara
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Abstract

Objectives

The present study examined identity synthesis as a linking pathway in the association between perceived parenting (autonomy support, dependency-oriented psychological control, and achievement-oriented psychological control) and emerging adults’ internalizing problems across three groups (European Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans).

Methods

The sample comprised 471 European American, 241 African American, and 355 Asian American emerging adults (total N = 1067; 69% female; Mage = 20.47; SD = 1.79). The mediating role of identity synthesis was tested and compared across ethnic groups via multiple-group path analyses using bootstrapping technique.

Results

Findings revealed both similarities and differences across ethnic groups. Specifically, identity synthesis mediated the association between parental autonomy support and internalizing problems in all three ethnic groups. However, identity synthesis only mediated the association between parental dependency-oriented psychological control and internalizing problems for European American emerging adults, and the association between parental achievement-oriented psychological control and internalizing problems for African American and Asian American emerging adults.

Conclusions

These findings illustrated the significant roles of parenting and identity development in emerging adults’ psychological adjustment across ethnic groups. Moreover, although parenting indirectly impacted emerging adults’ mental health in all groups, the specific patterns varied across different ethnic groups depending on the particular form of parenting, thus revealing both culturally-shared and -unique pathways from parents’ socialization practices to their offspring’s mental health outcomes.

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