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FATHER INVOLVEMENT IN CHINESE AMERICAN FAMILIES AND CHILDREN’S SOCIO-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Lillian Elizabeth Wu B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2005

THESIS

Submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of

MASTER OF ARTS

in

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

at

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO

FALL 2009

FATHER INVOLVEMENT IN CHINESE AMERICAN FAMILIES AND CHILDREN’S SOCIO-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A Thesis by Lillian Elizabeth Wu

Approved by: __________________________________, Sponsor Christi Cervantes, Ph.D. __________________________________, Second Reader Sheri Hembree, Ph.D. ____________________________ Date

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Student: Lillian Elizabeth Wu

I certify that this student has met the requirements for format contained in the University format manual, and that this thesis is suitable for shelving in the Library and credit is to be awarded for the thesis.

__________________________, Graduate Coordinator Sheri Hembree Department of Child Development

___________________ Date

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Abstract of FATHER INVOLVEMENT IN CHINESE AMERICAN FAMILIES AND CHILDREN’S SOCIO-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT by Lillian Elizabeth Wu

Past research discovered correlations between father involvement and children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development. However, most studies were conducted on European American families. The current study focused on the relation between Chinese American fathers’ involvement and their children’s social-emotional development. Thirty-one Chinese American families with children between the ages of 7 to 11 years old were surveyed on fathers’ acculturation to the US, fathers’ involvement in childrearing (general involvement, involvement in childcare responsibilities, socialization of children, decision-making, and time availability), children’s peer relationships, and children’s self-esteem. Fathers’ number of years in the US positively correlated with their reported involvement in decision-making, and their fluency in speaking Chinese positively correlated with their involvement in socializing their children. Fathers’ involvement in childcare negatively correlated with children’s positive and negative friendship qualities. Fathers’ involvement in time availability negatively correlated with children’s positive friendship qualities, but positively correlated with children’s social

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self-esteem. The results support previous studies indicating that fathers who were more involved in childcare responsibilities had children who displayed fewer negative friendship characteristics. However, the results of the study also revealed that Chinese fathers involve themselves with their children differently than other ethnic groups. Chinese American fathers who were available to spend time with their children may have spent that time reiterating the hierarchical relationships within the home and disciplining children; thus, these involved fathers had children who displayed fewer positive friendship qualities. Much is still unknown about Chinese American fathers, and further research should be done on their influence on children’s developmental outcomes.

_____________________, Committee Chair Christi Cervantes ____________________ Date

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thank you to my friends and family for their prayers, support, and words of encouragement to me during this process. I am also eternally grateful to my sponsoring professor, Dr. Christi Cervantes, for her wisdom, dedication, and guidance throughout my years at Sac State. Thank you, Dr. Sheri Hembree for your advice and assistance in my data analysis. Lastly, thank you to the wonderful professors from the Child Development department at CSUS.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Acknowledgments ......................................................................... ……………….. vi List of Tables...
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