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Vol. 46, No. 2-3, 2003
Issue release date: March–June 2003

Adolescents and Their Parents: A Review of Intergenerational Family Relations for Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Families

Kwak K.
Human Development 2003;46:115–136 (DOI:10.1159/000068581)
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The present review seeks to ascertain how intergenerational relations between adolescents and their parents are experienced through their socialization when cultural values are shared and practised by two generations in a family context. Within the framework of three culture-related developmental issues, (1) the influence of culture on family socialization, (2) the continuity of cultural transmission across generations, and (3) the impact of sociocultural context on enculturation, this review examines an initial hypothesis that there will be more intergenerational disagreement and difficulty in immigrant families than non-immigrant families. The cultural distance between the culture of origin and that of the new society can threaten the harmony of immigrant family relations, but when the core cultural values of family embeddedness are supported by their own culture as well as their own ethnocultural social network, immigrant families are able to maintain healthy intergenerational relations. Immigrant adolescents from collectivistic societies sustain these positive family relations in part by delaying their pursuit of autonomy. As with non-immigrant families, socioeconomic hardship in immigrant families necessitates collaboration by family members; yet, unlike the former, collaboration and participation by family members in the latter are encouraged by their own ethnic culture as well. Consequently, experiences of hardship do not result in overly adverse effects on intergenerational relations within the immigrant family. It is important to point out, however, that studies currently available in the literature are limited to immigrant groups which have settled in a small number of Western individualistic countries. Considering that migration movements are increasing under globalization, more effort needs to be put into examining the characteristics of the many other migrating groups and their receiving societies.

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