Chinese American Adolescents’ Academic Performance and Psychological Adjustment: The Role of Neighborhood and Family

Wei Wei, Dawn P. Witherspoon, Diane Hughes, Niobe Way

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The number of Asian immigrants, especially Chinese, is increasing rapidly in the United States. The changing demographics in the United States have led researchers to study the contextual factors that affect Chinese American adolescents’ development. Family and neighborhood are two key developmental contexts for adolescents (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). However, limited studies have explored how family and neighborhood jointly relate to Chinese American adolescents’ achievement and depressive symptoms. This study aimed to explore how neighborhood (disadvantage, ethnic concentration, and social cohesion) and family (parental home and school involvement, and parent–adolescent conflict) impact achievement and depressive symptoms among Chinese American adolescents. Additionally, the study examined whether family serves as a mediator of the relations between neighborhood and adolescent achievement and depressive symptoms. Path analysis was conducted to explore longitudinal relations between 6th-grade neighborhood characteristics, 7th-grade family variables, and 8th-grade achievement and depressive symptoms among 131 Chinese American adolescents (Mage = 11.24, SDage = 0.55; 49% female; 75% was born in the United States). Results revealed that higher levels of ethnic concentration were associated with lower grades. More parent–adolescent conflict was associated with lower grades and higher levels of depressive symptoms. Neighborhood disadvantage was negatively associated with school involvement and home involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-40
Number of pages15
JournalAsian American Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Achievement/grades
  • Chinese american adolescents
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Family
  • Neighborhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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