Sense of Social Belonging, Parenting, and Child Outcomes: Associations among Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China and Chinese Immigrants in the United States

Yixuan Wang, Fordham University

Abstract

Both Chinese immigrants in the United States and rural-to-urban migrants in China have been marginalized in their host society. Chinese immigrant parents face the challenge of adjusting to mainstream culture in the United States, which presents a cultural dilemma regarding child rearing. Rural-to-urban migrants in China potentially suffer from discrimination related to their inferior household registration status, resulting in a lack of sense of social belonging to their host environment. This dissertation examines (a) whether parents’ sense of social belonging is associated with parenting behaviors and parental stress and whether such an association is moderated by social support in both populations; (b) whether rural-to-urban migrants’ parenting behaviors and parental stress are associated with their children’s academic performance and peer relations and whether such an association is moderated by the number of years their children have lived in Beijing; and (c) whether rural-to-urban migrant parents’ sense of social belonging affects their children’s sense of social belonging, which in turn affects children’s academic performance, peer relations, and self-efficacy. Data on immigrants in the United States from mainland China (n = 284) were collected in New York (during 2011–2012), New Jersey (2013–2014), and Hawaii (2015–2017). Data on rural-to-urban migrants in China were collected from 499 migrant and 299 local parent–child dyads during 2014 and 2015 in Beijing. Analyses showed that (a) parents’ stronger sense of social belonging to the hosting environment promotes positive parenting behaviors among Chinese immigrant parents but not among rural-to-urban migrants in Beijing; (b) parenting behaviors had effects on academic performance among local children but not the migrant population; and (c) there is an intergenerational effect between parents’ and children’s sense of social belonging in general, but only among the migrant population in Beijing did associations exist between sense of social belonging and child outcomes. Enlightened by Western theories, findings suggest that migrant children’s performance in school could be enhanced by cultivating a sense of social belonging to Beijing among both parents and children. This indicates the need for a relaxation of the household registration policy in Beijing and more informed teaching practice among educators to improve migrant children’s outcomes.

Subject Area

Asian American Studies|Social work|Public policy

Recommended Citation

Wang, Yixuan, "Sense of Social Belonging, Parenting, and Child Outcomes: Associations among Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China and Chinese Immigrants in the United States" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13864370.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI13864370

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