MFAS is a research project designed to help us better understand the way that parenting behavior influences school performance and protects youth from negative outcomes such as depression and delinquency. This study will longitudinally examine how parent involvement in school and parental control and warmth influence the school performance and behavioral adjustment of adolescents from diverse ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds. By studying this question, we will improve our understanding of the types of parenting strategies that are most effective for the school success and adjustment of adolescents from different ethnic and immigrant groups.
MFAS is a four-year, multi-method longitudinal study of adolescents and their parents, comprised of two parts. In part one, adolescents will be asked to complete a questionnaire consisting of the following measures: parental control and warmth, parent-adolescent relationships, parental involvement in school, adolescents' feelings or interpretations of parents' practices, and their school performance and behavioral adjustment. For this portion of the study, we will survey adolescents within Southern California high schools from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
In part two, we will do a more in depth study of the first- and second-generation Asian American and European American adolescents who completed the survey in part one, by interviewing their parents. The parent sample will include 400 Chinese Americans, 400 Filipino Americans, 400 Korean Americans, and 400 European Americans. For this piece of the study, the parents will be interviewed over the telephone, completing some of the same measures as their children did, and also measures of their parental belief systems. Additionally, we will do more detailed, face-to-face qualitative interviews with a smaller subgroup of parents and adolescents from each ethnic group.
The multicultural family and adolescent study has three primary objectives: (1) To examine the longitudinal effects of parental control, warmth, and involvement in school on adolescents' school achievement and behavioral adjustment, and whether these effects differ across ethnic group as well as generational status especially for Chinese, Filipino, and Korean immigrants; (2) to examine whether different parental beliefs influence the parental control, warmth, and involvement of Asian Americans and European Americans; and (3) to determine whether effects of parental control, warmth, and involvement depend on or are moderated by adolescents' interpretations of parenting.
This research is funded by a large five-year grant from
the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
(NIH/NICHHD). Ruth K. Chao, Ph.D. is the Principal Investigator
of this grant, and she is also an Associate Professor
of Psychology at the University of California , Riverside. The
key research assistants include Ioakim Boutakidis, Robecca Chau,
Christie Lisman, Inna Padmawidjaja, Ph.D., and Chunxia Wu.