Sophy Pich

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Sociology & English


1999

Mentor: Naomi Nagy, Assistant Professor of English & Thomas Schram, Associate Professor of Education

Bicultural Adaptation of Cambodian Families in a Rural New England Community

The purpose of this study is to explore some of the social and cultural challenges experienced by Cambodian families in a rural, northern New England community, with specific attention directed toward the nature of the relationships between parents and their children. The community targeted for this research included five Cambodian families, representing a small, but not atypical pattern of immigrant settlement in rural northern New England.

Using qualitative methods of fieldwork I conducted separate interviews with several Cambodian parents and their adolescent children. Preliminary data analysis has identified and clarified some of the key continuities and discontinuities that often characterize relationships between Cambodian parents and their children in the United States.

My research suggests that traditional Cambodian styles of parenting (hierarchical and authoritative) along with the lack of inspiring role models at home-especially when manifested within such a small and relatively isolated community context-may contribute to a lack of dialogue between parents and children, creating conflict within their relationships.

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