Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Counseling Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 104 pages) : illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Myrna L. Friedlander

Committee Members

Alex Pieterse, Yun Dai


Acculturative Family Distancing, Depression, Family Conflict, Taiwanese American, Taiwanese parachute kids, Teenage immigrants, Immigrant children, Taiwanese Americans, Depression, Mental, Intergenerational communication

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology


The current study applied Hwang's (2006a) theory of Acculturative Family Distancing (AFD) to adult Taiwanese parachute kids (Hamilton, 1993), partially replicating and extending Hwang et al.'s (2010) study, which tested relations among AFD, family conflict, and depression. The term parachute kids refers to individuals who immigrated to North America as children or adolescents unaccompanied by parents. It was hypothesized that greater cultural value incongruence and communication breakdown, constructs measured by Hwang's (2006b) AFD Scale, would predict greater family conflict, as measured by the Family Conflict subscale of the Social Interaction Scale (SIS-FC; Kessler et al., 1994), and family conflict would positively predict depressive symptoms, as measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; Radloff, 1977). Moreover, family conflict was hypothesized to at least partially mediate the relations between two aspects of AFD and depressive symptoms: cultural value incongruence and communication breakdown. Participants' levels of acculturation and enculturation were also assessed to explore how these factors are associated with each other and how they may relate to the major study variables for adult parachute kids. Participants were parachute kids, aged 18 to 36, recruited using snowball sampling for a web-based survey. Simple regression analyses showed that both cultural value incongruence and communication breakdown were significant predictors of family conflict and family conflict was significantly associated with depressive symptoms. Moreover, family conflict fully mediated the relation between communication breakdown and depressive symptoms. However, family conflict did not explain the relation between cultural value incongruence and depressive symptoms. With respect to acculturation and enculturation, participants who reported relatively more mainstream acculturation reported fewer communication difficulties with parents and fewer depressive symptoms. Participants who reported more Taiwanese enculturation also reported fewer communication difficulties with parents. Acculturation and enculturation scores were not correlated, supporting the bilinear view of acculturation (e.g., Berry, 1979; Miller 2010).