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PhD defence

Unpacking the rich tapestry of Chinese culture: the interplay between parental socialization and children's social functioning

  • D. Gao
Tuesday 12 March 2024
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. J. Mesman
  • Prof.dr. M. van Geel


Parental socialization refers to the process through which parents transmit values and beliefs to their children. During this process, children learn to understand the world and shape their social functioning. The impact of parental socialization can vary across different cultures. My research focuses on family interactions within Chinese cultures, emphasizing the importance of cultural nuances when examining the role of parental behaviors in children's social development. The study utilized samples of Chinese children and their parents, employing various research methods, including observations, interviews, and questionnaires. The findings indicated that Chinese mothers' psychological control had a relatively minor negative effect on children's emotion regulation and social anxiety. Additionally, the research revealed racism and colorism among Chinese children, which were associated with mothers' color-evasive socialization behaviors. Chinese mothers did not avoid talking about racial appearance and cultural background, which contrasts with studies in White Western populations where most White mothers showed color evasion. Chinese mothers’ acknowledgement of shared culture predicted children’s positive attitudes towards their own racial ingroup with a darker skin tone. My research underscores the unique features of Chinese culture that play a pivotal role in shaping the nature and consequences of parental socialization on children's social functioning. It highlights that Western theories related to parenting and color-evasive socialization may need adaptation when applied to non-Western cultural contexts.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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