Cultural Variation in Reports of Subjective Experience of Parent–Child Boundary Dissolution Among Emerging Adults

  • Jackson E
  • Raval V
  • Bendikas-King E
 et al. 
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Parent-child boundary dissolution, the loss of psychological distinctiveness between parents and their children, has been linked with maladaptive child functioning in White middle-class groups in Western cultures, though cross-cultural findings are mixed. To further explore this variation, we used mixed methods to compare college students reports of frequency and subjective experience of parent beliefs and behaviors indicative of various types of parent-child boundary dissolution in India (n = 110) and the United States (n = 250). Internal reliability estimates were lower in the Indian sample, particularly for infantilization and role reversal. College students in India reported parent beliefs and behaviors considered to be indicative of enmeshment and role reversal in Western family psychology literature more frequently and perceived them more positively than U.S. participants, while no difference was found for psychological control and spousification. Overall, the findings question the cultural relevance of some dimensions of boundary dissolution in India.

Author-supplied keywords

  • culture
  • mixed methods
  • parent–child relationships

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  • Ellen F. Jackson

  • Vaishali V. Raval

  • Emily A. Bendikas-King

  • Pratiksha H. Raval

  • Shwetang S. Trivedi

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