Examining the Interdependence of Parent-adolescent Acculturation Gaps on Acculturation-based Conflict: Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model

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While some studies have supported the conceptual models developed to explain how conflict may result from parent–adolescent acculturation gaps within immigrant families, others have produced contradictory findings. Therefore, the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model may be a step toward explaining the discrepancies in the field. It is a model for dyadic data analysis. It differs from prior approaches for assessing acculturation gaps because it considers the interdependence between two family members, suggesting that adolescents’ perceived degree of conflict may be a response to their own acculturation (actor effect) and at the same time, to their parents’ acculturation (partner effect), and vice versa. The purpose of this study is to assess parent–adolescent acculturation levels on perceived acculturation-based conflict using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model within Chinese American families (n = 187 dyads). The mean age of the adolescents was 12.3 years old (SD = 0.95). Findings from the study demonstrate that adolescents perceived greater conflict the more they were acculturated but perceived less conflict the more their parents were acculturated. Parents perceived less conflict the higher their adolescents scored on both acculturation and cultural maintenance. However, parents perceived greater conflict the higher they maintained their own culture. Results suggest that the partner effects reveal information that may help clarify whether acculturation gaps are related to conflict within immigrant families.

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The authors want to thank Dr. David A. Kenny and Dr. Randi L. Garcia for their exceptional teaching of the class, Dyadic Analysis Using Multilevel Modeling, at the Data Analysis Training Institute of Connecticut (DATIC) at the University of Connecticut.

Authors’ Contributions

M.W.S. conceived of the study, performed the measurement and statistical analysis, and drafted the manuscript. B.A.M. participated in the development of the manuscript, drafting the manuscript, and making critical revisions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research study was supported by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health, grant T32 AA014125-08.

Data Sharing and Declaration

The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Correspondence to Meme Wang-Schweig or Brenda A. Miller.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval was obtained for this study from the institutional review board of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The original version of this article was revised: The alignment error in the Tables 1 and 2

The erratum article can be found online at https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0967-6

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Wang-Schweig, M., Miller, B.A. Examining the Interdependence of Parent-adolescent Acculturation Gaps on Acculturation-based Conflict: Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model. J Youth Adolescence 50, 367–377 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0948-9

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  • Actor-Partner interdependence model
  • Acculturation gaps
  • Acculturation-based conflict
  • Intergenerational cultural dissonance
  • Acculturation gap-distress hypothesis
  • Acculturative family distancing