Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Susan Gee

Abstract

Is there a difference, in the level of conflict with parents, that migrant adolescents experience in comparison to that of non-migrant adolescents? According to the literature, adolescents and their parents in the minority cultural groups are likely to experience high levels of conflict which may result from conflicting cultural norms (Rosenthal, 1984; Ghuman, 1975, Di J\.1arco, 1974, and Phinney, I 996). The present study was conducted with a sample of Burmese adolescents from Rangoon (Myamar), a sample of migrant Burmese adolescents from Perth (Western Australia), and a sample of Anglo-Australian adolescents also from Perth, to investigate age, gender and cultural differences in the level of reported conflict with their mothers and their fathers. Data was collected from a total of 295 adolescents (209 Burmese, 43 Burmese-Australian and 43 Anglo-Australian) who were 12 to 16 years of age. An adapted self-report 12-item Conflict Scale from Rosenthal's 1984 study was used to measure the level of conflict between the adolescents and the parents. The analyses for the present study was carried out with a final sample of 129 subjects (61 females, 68 males), consisting of 43 subjects from each ethnic group. The Ethnic Identification Scale, adapted from Rosenthal's 1984 study, was also administered to the 43 Burmese-Australian participants, to investigate whether there was a relationship between levels of conflict and differences in the adolescent-parent ethnic identification (ie., parent identifying as Burmese but the adolescent offspring identifying as Burmese-Australian or Burmese). The findings of the study was not consistent with pervious findings. Burmese-Australian female adolescents reported a significantly higher level of conflict with their father than the Burmese female adolescents. Both the males and females adolescent in the Burmese-Australian group reported higher conflict with their mothers as compared to the Anglo-Australian adolescents but not significantly different to the Burmese adolescents. The findings were discussed in relation to the models of bicultural conflict in migrant families, and in the context of the Burmese cultural experience. Methodological issues and implications are discussed. The need to examine family systems, cultural beliefs and values in child rearing practices, and direction for future research is raised.

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