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Parent–child relationships among older Chinese immigrants: the influence of co-residence, frequent contact, intergenerational support and sense of children's deference

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 May 2015

MAN GUO*
Affiliation:
School of Social Work, University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA.
LING XU
Affiliation:
School of Social Work, University of Texas at Arlington, USA.
JINYU LIU
Affiliation:
School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
WEIYU MAO
Affiliation:
School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
IRIS CHI
Affiliation:
School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.
*
Address for correspondence: Man Guo, School of Social Work, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52245, USA E-mail: man-guo@uiowa.edu

Abstract

Immigration disrupts the bonding process in families. Maintaining close relationships with adult children can be an important protective factor for older immigrants' health and wellbeing. Quantitative research explaining such close relationships is rare. This study examined factors associated with close parent–child relationships in a purposive sample of 236 older Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles who provided information regarding 365 children. Two-level regression models were estimated to investigate factors contributing to cohesive parent–child relationships among these older adults. The findings showed that co-residence, a characteristic that distinguishes immigrant families from most non-immigrant families, was associated with lower parent–child relationship quality. Frequent contact was associated with closer relationships. While receiving instrumental and monetary support from children was associated with favourable ratings of relationships with children, providing such support to children was not related to parents' assessment of relationship quality. Parental perceptions of children being respectful was also associated with better relationship quality ratings. Overall, the findings demonstrate how family-related changes in the immigration context shape parent–child relationships in later life. Implications for future research and practice are provided.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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