Context Matters: How Do Neighborhood Structural Factors Affect Parenting Stress among Asian Immigrant Families?

Fei Pei (SWK) PI, 2022 Falk Tenure-track Assistant Professor Research Seed Grants. 7/1/22-6/30/23

This study focuses on the connections of neighborhood structures, cultural orientation, and social support to parenting stress among Asian immigrant families. Parenting stress is prevalent and persistently high levels of parenting stress has individual, familial, and societal consequences such as increased risk of poor maternal mental health, child maltreatment, and traumatized child development. Little is known about how the neighborhood factors affect parenting stress in Asian immigrant families, the historically underserved ethnic group. Moreover, less studies paid attention to how the living environment intersect with Asian immigrants’ cultural orientation and further affect their parenting behaviors. This study will examine these relationships by answering two questions: (1) Is there a direct relationship between neighborhood structural factors and parenting stress among Asian immigrant families? (2) Do cultural orientation and social support indirectly affect parenting stress among Asian immigrant families?

Investigating such questions from a neighborhood perspective directly fills the critical gap in the knowledge of minority families’ wellbeing. This study will provide information for the development of supportive communities for Asian immigrant families. Given the frequent changes of the living environment among immigrant families, this study provides a new way to model the dynamic living environment of immigrant families and their parenting behaviors more realistically. Finally, this study expands the social disorganization theory to Asian immigrant families, which significantly improves the diverse understanding of this classic theory.