Parents as Cultural Middlemen: The Role of Perceived Norms in Value Socialization by Ethnic Minority Parents

Kim Pong Tam, Hoi Wing Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


As the world is increasingly globalized, more and more families now reside in a society culturally differing from their ethnic origin and thus face a bicultural environment. Ethnic minority families exemplify this situation. What values do parents from these families prefer when they socialize their children? To answer this question, the present research examines an extension of the intersubjective model of value transmission. In two studies conducted in Hong Kong, it was found that when constructing their value socialization preference, ethnic minority parent participants emphasized not only values they personally endorsed but also values they perceived to be normative in the settlement society and the ethnic society, respectively. Furthermore, it was found that the reference to these dual sets of perceived norms was a function of the participants’ plans about their children’s future destination: They were more likely to refer to values of a society when they to a larger extent expected that their children would reside in that society in future. The participants’ ethnic identity played a significant role too: The reference to perceived norms in the ethnic society was particularly pronounced among those who strongly identified with their ethnic group. Taken together, this extended model represents a useful tool for researchers to examine the intricate dynamics in bicultural and even multicultural families’ value socialization practice. It also offers insights for the understanding of various culture-related psychological issues, including behavioral influence of perceived cultural norms, cultural transmission, and effects of globalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-507
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cultural transmission
  • ethnic identity
  • ethnic minority
  • intersubjective approach
  • perceived norms
  • value socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


Dive into the research topics of 'Parents as Cultural Middlemen: The Role of Perceived Norms in Value Socialization by Ethnic Minority Parents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this