Obstacles to parent-adolescent communication in Hmong American families: exploring pathways to adolescent mental health promotion.

Ethnicity & health

PubMedID: 23844616

Meschke LL, Juang LP. Obstacles to parent-adolescent communication in Hmong American families: exploring pathways to adolescent mental health promotion. Ethn Health. 2013;.
Objective. Mental health challenges disproportionately affect children in refugee families, with Hmong American adolescents being an extreme case (Thao, Leite, and Atella 2010). Limited understanding about the processes associated with this enhanced risk for children of refugees exists. Obstacles to parent-adolescent communication may contribute to this increased risk (Laursen and Collins 2004). This study's objective is to explore our limited understanding of parent-adolescent communication in refugee families by examining communication obstacles among Hmong Americans. Design. Thirty Hmong American young adults (18 to 25 years; mean = 21.2, 50% female or n =15) participated in interviews that focused retrospectively on the parent-adolescent relationship. Results. Results revealed obstacles that were initiated by the adolescent, parent, and community. Two adolescent-focused sub-themes (emotional discomfort and psychosocial immaturity), five parent-focused sub-themes (parental judgment, parental intimidation, no benefits of communication with parents, generational/cultural differences, and lack of parent-adolescent bond), and two culture/community-focused sub-themes (traditions/values and vocabulary) emerged. Conclusions. The findings provide a foundation for future qualitative and quantitative studies to promote Hmong American family communication, and encourage an ecological approach to promote parent-adolescent communication conducive to supporting adolescent mental health outcomes.