Intergenerational conflict within the family context: A comparative analysis of collectivism and individualism within Vietnamese, Filipino, and Caucasian families

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Barbara H. Fiese


Intergenerational conflict, Collectivism, Individualism, Vietnamese, Filipino, Caucasian

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy | Psychology | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology | Sociology


The purpose of this study was to better understand the relation among cultural conflict, family beliefs and practices, and their ability to predict psychological adjustment in Asian/Pacific Islander-American and Anglo/European-American young adults. According to Szapocznik and Kurtines (1993), intergenerational cultural conflict that repeatedly arises due to differences in degree of acculturation between family members to a new culture may place young adults at risk for adjustment difficulties. Cultural conflict and family characteristics are two factors that have been linked to adolescent adjustment and young adult development. The relationship among family characteristics, cultural conflict, and adjustment has not been well-explored, especially with Vietnamese refugees and Filipino immigrants. The sample consisted of 190 college students (male = 57 and female = 133) with a mean age of 19.89 years. Student race and ethnicity was fairly diverse with the sample consisting of 55.7% Anglo/European/White (n = 98), 2.3% African-American/Black (n = 4), 1.7% Latino/Hispanic (n = 3), 2.8% Native American/American Indian (n = 5), 16.5% Filipino (n = 29), 12.5% Vietnamese (n = 22), 6.8% Asian/Korean/Chinese/Indian (n = 12), and 1.7% Mixed/Biracial (n = 3) students. Of the 190 student participants, 95 parents completed questionnaires regarding cultural values. A preponderance of the students had parents that were college educated and had semi-professional to professional occupations. Intergenerational cultural conflict was assessed by the Individualism-Collectivism Questionnaire (Hui, 1988), family beliefs and practices were assessed by the Family Environment Scale (Moos & Moos, 1986) and the Family Ritual Questionnaire (Fiese & Kline, 1993). Adjustment in young adults was measured by the Symptom Checklist 90 - Revised (Derogaitis, 1977), the COPE (Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub, 1989), and the Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (Phinney, 1992). Results of correlational and multiple regression analyses indicated that ethnic identity, ethnic identity achievement, and affirmation and belonging were best predicted by family ritual experiences. The role of cultural-family factors upon adjustment is further discussed, rather than exclusively focusing on migration status as the cause of maladaptive adjustment in Asian/Pacific Islander-American young adults.