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Chung, 'An investigation of the psychological well-being of unaccompanied Taiwanese minors/parachute kids in the United States," 1994

USC Dissertation in Sociology.
August 26, 2009

Chong-Li Edith Chung, Ph.D.

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this study is to investigate the psychological well-being of the unaccompanied immigrant adolescents from Taiwan. The focus is two-fold: (1) to examine the psychological well-being differences among the three adolescent groups; (2) to explore the characteristics of the unaccompanied Taiwanese minors/parachute kids and then compare them with the other two sample groups.

Subjects of this study were 162 adolescents, who were classified into three groups based on their immigration backgrounds and living arrangements. Group I consisted of first generation American-born Chinese; Group II consisted of accompanied immigrant Taiwanese adolescents, and Group III consisted of unaccompanied Taiwanese minors/parachute kids. Hotelling's t-square, multivariate F-tests and post hoc procedures were used to examine the group differences in these variables: anxiety level, distress symptomatology and self-concept. Frequencies and chi-square were reported to compare the characteristics of all subjects.

The study showed that the anxiety level and distress level of Group III were higher than the other two comparison groups. There were no significant differences among the three groups on self-esteem and self-concept scores. In terms of the nature of the anxiety, Group III had higher worry/oversensitivity and social concerns/concentration anxiety than Group I. With regard to the nature of the distress symptoms, Group III had higher somatization and anxiety symptomatology than Group I; Group III had higher depression, paranoid ideation and anxiety symptomatology than Group II.

Based on this study, recommendations for further research include: exploring the impact of separation from parental guidance and emotional support on the unaccompanied immigrant Taiwanese minors and their personality development; examining gender differences among the sample population; incorporating various perceptions of parents, guardians, teachers, school counselors and friends to better understand these unaccompanied minors and their needs; and comparing immigrant Taiwanese adolescents with their counterparts in Taiwan.

Advisor: Whiteley, Scott