Family obligation in Chinese homes lowers teenage depression symptoms

June 4, 2009

A new study of Chinese-American youth has found that family obligation, for example caring for siblings or helping elders, plays a positive role in the mental health of Chinese-American adolescents and may prevent symptoms of depression in later teenage years.

Published in the Journal of Family Psychology, the study found that 14-year-olds who reported a greater sense of family obligation reported fewer by the time they reached 16. The findings suggest that family obligation may be protective against depressive symptoms. The authors suggest that a greater sense of family obligation in the early teenage years could provide teenagers with a strong family bond that makes them feel secure even when they move through adolescence and become more autonomous.

The surveyed 218 Chinese-American teenagers over a two-year period. As participants grew older, their actions to help and support their families decreased. However, their and respect toward their families remained stable, indicating that immigrant adolescents continue to endorse their traditional cultural values even when their behaviors suggest they are becoming less traditional.

Source: San Francisco State University (news : web)

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