Social-emotional development and school readiness of Chinese American children: The role of parenting and self-regulation


social-emotional development, parenting, self-regulation


This dissertation was comprised of three thematically-related studies, with an overall aim to reconcile the inconsistent findings in the literature regarding the effects of controlling parenting on child development. The first paper confirmed that the love withdrawal dimension of psychologically controlling parenting could be clearly distinguished from the dimensions of guilt induction and shaming through conducting confirmatory factor analyses. The second paper then examined the dimensional effects of psychological control using longitudinal structural equation modeling. Results indicated that maternal love withdrawal predicted more withdrawn and aggressive behavior in children six months later, whereas maternal guilt induction predicted fewer problem behaviors over this period. The first two dissertation papers provided insights on some potential explanations for the inconsistent effects of parenting from the measurement perspective. The third dissertation paper further examined the processes underlying the pathways from parenting to child outcomes. Specifically, the mediating role of effortful control and moderating role of cultural orientations were examined. Two waves of longitudinal data were collected approximately six months apart on 154 families. Half-longitudinal mediation and moderation analyses showed that W1 child effortful control positively predicted W2 child social-emotional school readiness even after controlling for construct stability. However, W1 parenting practices did not significantly predict W2 child effortful control after controlling for temporal stability, which led to nonsignificant mediation effects. For the direct effects of parenting practices, the use of physical coercion predicted less overall child school readiness (less on-task behavior and more externalizing behavior) six months later, only for mothers who were highly acculturated towards the American culture. In addition, maternal physical coercion predicted more child internalizing behavior whereas maternal guilt induction predicted less child internalizing behavior over time. No child effects were found except that W1 child effortful control predicted less W2 maternal guilt induction, indicating that these Chinese immigrant mothers used more guilt induction when their children lacked internal control and needed the external control to regulate their behavior. Overall, these findings may inform educators and practitioners to be more attuned to the myriad of factors that can influence parenting practices and child adjustment. Moreover, these results highlighted the need to be cognizant of the value of indigenous Chinese parenting and Chinese immigrant mothers’ acculturation in shaping their use of controlling parenting and the effects of such practices on their children’s outcomes in the American cultural context.

Original Publication Citation

Yu, J., Cheah, C.S.L., Hart, C.H., Yang, C. & Olsen J.A. (in press). Longitudinal effects of maternal love withdrawal and guilt induction on Chinese American preschoolers’ bullying aggressive behavior. Development and Psychopathology.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date





Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor