Longitudinal relations of cultural orientation and emotional expressivity in Chinese American immigrant parents: Sociocultural influences on emotional development in adulthood.

Research in developmental psychology has traditionally focused on parents’ roles as agents of emotion socialization in their children’s socioemotional development. By contrast, little longitudinal research has examined sociocultural mechanisms shaping parents’ own emotional development. Immigrant parents are an ideal population in which to examine these processes and advance conceptual models of culture and continuing emotional development in adulthood. Using developmental functionalism and bioecological models of development as theoretical frameworks, the present study examined how immigrant parents’ and children’s cultural orientations were prospectively related to parents’ self-reported emotional expressivity in the family context. Chinese American immigrant parents (n = 210) with elementary-aged children were assessed at two time points approximately 2 years apart. Path analyses using longitudinal panel models indicated that immigrant parents’ cultural orientation in various cultural domains (language, social relationships, media) prospectively predicted their emotional expressivity in the family context. Parents’ emotional expressivity was also predicted by children’s cultural orientation and by discrepancies between their own and their children’s cultural orientations. Our results underscore pathways through which immigrants’ interactions with the family and broader sociocultural context can contribute to continued emotional development in adulthood. We discuss implications of our findings for developmentally informed approaches to the study of culture and emotion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)