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  • Editor Comments
  • Donald Swenson

Only in two articles is there a common theme, parenting. The other two articles and the two book reviews stand alone. These articles and book reviews contribute well to our Journal's mandate to understand family structures and processes from a wide range of cultures: Korea, Turkey, America, India, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Middle East.


Under the theme parenting, so very central to the cross-cultural study of the family, stands an article by Jaerim Lee and Catherine A.Solheim. The topic of investigation and the primary endogenous outcome variable is the Korean emerging adults' psychological adjustment and their differentiation of self. The exogenous variable is familism which, in Korea, emphasized putting the family first, respecting parents and ancestors (i.e., filial piety), continuing the patrilineal family, and more recently, the matrilineal lines, and maintaining socioeconomic ties among families and relatives. In addition, in modern Korea, familism shares some features of Latino familism which is operationalized as familial support, familial interconnectedness, familial honor, and the subservience of self for the sake of the family.

Two outcomes for psychological development-one set of outcomes is positive and the other negative. During emerging adulthood, familism could increase psychological distress, which could mean a greater burden of prioritizing family harmony and making decisions based on familial expectations. These values may contradict emerging adults' need for individuation as a developmental task. Some previous researchers found that familism was related to better psychological functioning as well as to more psychological distress.

The strength of this paper is to tease out the mechanisms of positive and negative outcomes to Korean emerging adult's personal development. Figures 1 (the conceptual model) and 2 (the final structural model) depict the pathways from familism through conformity to parental expectations that result in reduced differentiation of self and depression symptoms. On the other hand, when familism is chartered through parent-child affection, there is less depression symptoms, stronger differentiation of self and positive life satisfaction.

These findings are very much needed to understand the role that familism plays in the youth of South Korea that has implications for other nations, cultures and states who accent familism.

The second article on parenting takes us to Turkey where Ismail Sanberk investigates the intricacies of intra-family dyadic relations from adolescents' perspectives. Sanberk locates his study in the context of a significant range of differing parenting styles and child and adolescent outcomes. Some studies show that parents' acceptance/concern or rejection characteristics have universal effects on children. On the other hand, other studies claim that the meanings [End Page 399] and consequences of parenting style for adolescents can differ according to the society's individualistic and collectivistic cultural codes or social-cultural contexts. What Sanberk hopes to do in this study is to analyze how adolescents perceive their parents in acceptance or tight control dimensions create their intra-family dyadic relations in terms of reciprocity through Repertory Grid Technique. This technique is a semi-structured interview that elicits one's mental representations or personal constructs about relationships.

The adolescents were 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students at an Anatolian high school in Istanbul. The Parenting Styles Questionnaire Scale (PSQ) was randomly administered to 150 students. The author looked at a wide variety of relations within the family unit that revolved about the adolescent youth. Based on the data obtained resulted in two grids: the self-identity graphs of parents' acceptance (see Figure 2) and the tight control of parents (see figure 3). Sanberk summarizes his paper with the following observation:

Almost all participants represented family relationships with positive personal constructs when they were in the sender position in communication but used relatively negative personal constructs when they were in the receiver position. The reciprocal relationship in families that was perceived as most distant or least similar was the reciprocal relationship with the mother. Additionally, "your mother's current relationship with you and your sibling" and "your father's current relationship with you and your sibling" were the most similar reciprocal relationships. It can be concluded from these findings that the adolescents perceived that their parents had consistent relationships with them versus their siblings...


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pp. 399-402
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