Effortful control and early academic achievement of Chinese American children in immigrant families

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Chen, Stephen H.; Main, Alexandra; Zhou, Qing; Bunge, Silvia A.; Lau, Nancy; Chu, Keira
Early Childhood Research Quarterly
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07-18-2017 3:54 PM
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The present study examined the direct and indirect relations of family contextual factors, effortful control (EC), and the early math and English literacy skills of first and second-generation Chinese American immigrant children in early elementary school. Using a socioeconomically diverse sample of 258 Chinese American children (53% receiving free- or reduced-price school lunch), we assessed EC with a combination of parent and teacher reports, computerized neuropsychological tests, and a behavioral frustration task. Children's math calculation and English literacy skills were assessed with standardized achievement tests. Results of structural equation modeling suggested that: (a) EC was positively associated with both math and English literacy skills; (b) parents' enculturation was marginally and positively associated with children's EC, and EC mediated the link between parent's enculturation and children's achievement, (c) authoritarian parenting was marginally and negatively associated with children's EC, and EC mediated the link between authoritarian parenting and children's achievement; (d) parents' enculturation had a direct and negative link to children's English literacy skills; and (e) no evidence of an EC A- SES interaction was found. The findings highlight the need to consider joint influences of socioeconomic, interpersonal, and cultural factors on children's academic development in immigrant families; and provide support for promoting children's effortful control as an intermediate target of intervention.
Family and Community Involvement