A vehicle for positive acculturation

A parent support sharing group in Hong Kong


  • Eunice Pui-yu Yim The Open University of Hong Kong




intergroup contact, facilitating acculturation, self-identity, group dynamics, cultural sensitivity, social harmony


Cultural diversity in Hong Kong has increased dramatically following a series of reforms in population and immigration policies after the unification of Hong Kong in 1997. Since then, cultural clashes between Hong Kong locals and mainland Chinese people have become one of the major social issues in Hong Kong. While intercultural clashes between people from different countries have been widely researched, those between people from different regions of the same country are rarely studied. Homogenizing and overlooking intergroup cultural clashes contribute to misunderstandings toward different cultures and resolving these clashes through social policies and services. Cultural research indicates that stereotyped beliefs are transmitted intergenerationally. Policy responses seek to nurture a harmonized society where perceived differences are respected and understood, rather than merely acknowledged. This study adopts narrative inquiry to examine the dynamics of acculturation, social identity, and intergroup contact among local and migrant parents and to explore avenues for promoting positive acculturation amid diversity. We observed four parents from mainland China and three local Hong Kong parents with children aged 4–13 who attended two discussion sessions about parenting. The findings revealed that promoting positive acculturation via parenting education is effective in promoting psychological adaptation at the individual level and reducing intergroup stereotypes at a cultural level. Training parenting educators in facilitating positive acculturation policies and programs for both sides are discussed.


Abbas, Ackbar (1997): Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.

Aksel, Seyda, Zubeyit Gun, Turkan Yilmaz Irmak & Banu Cengelci (2007): “Migration and Psychological Status of Adolescents in Turkey,” Adolescence, 42: 167, 589–602.

Alasuutari, Peritti (1995): Researching Culture: Qualitative Method and Cultural Studies, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ali, Abdulaziz (2008): Acculturation and the Subjective Well-being of Somali Immigrants in the United States: An Explanatory Mixed Methods Investigation, PhD thesis, Capella University, Minnesota: http://search.proquest.com/docview/304829698?accountid=14548, (accessed 23/06/20)

Anghel, Alina & Ramona Adina Lupu (2014): “Intercultural Education at Preschool Children - Implications in the Adaptive/Integrative Socialization. Analysis of the Functional Models,” Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 149, 50-53. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.08.188

Angelini, Viola, Laura Casi & Luca Corazzini (2015): “Life Satisfaction of Immigrants: Does Cultural Assimilation Matter?” Journal of Population Economics, 28:3, 817–844. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-015-0552-1

Bank, Kenneth & Marshall Mangan (1999): The Company of Neighbours: Revitalizing Community Through Action–research, Toronto, ON: University of Toronto. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/9781442680869

Barni, Daniela & Sonia Ranieri (2012): “Value Similarity Among Grandparents, Parents, and Adolescent Children: Unique or Stereotypical?” Family Science, 3:1, 46–54. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/19424620.2011.671499

Berry, John (1980): “Acculturation as Varieties of Adaptation,” Amado Padilla (ed): Acculturation: Theory, Models, and Some New Findings, Boulder, CO: Westview, 9–25.

Berry, John & Rudolf Kalin (2000): “Multicultural Policy and Social Psychology: The Canadian Experience,” Stanley Renshon & John Duckit (eds), Political Psychology in Cross-cultural Foundations, New York: MacMillan, 263–284. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230598744_15

Blau, Francine (2015): “Immigrants and Gender Roles: Assimilation vs. Culture,” Journal of Migration, 4:1, 1–21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40176-015-0048-5

Brown, Rupert & Miles Hewstone (2005): “An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Contact,” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 255-343, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(05)37005-5, (assessed 23/06/20) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(05)37005-5

Carless, David & Kitrina Douglas (2017): “Narrative research,” The Journal of Positive Psychology, 12: 3, 307-308. doi: 10.1080/17439760.2016.1262611 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2016.1262611

Chen, Bin (2014): “Rural-to-urban Migrant Children’s Behaviors and Adaptation within Migration Social Contexts in China,” Radosveta Dimitrova, Michael Bender & Fons Van de Vijver (eds), Global Perspectives on Wellbeing in Immigrant Families, New York: Springer, 75–94. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9129-3_5

Child, Alan (2004): “Group Parent Education: Promoting Parent Learning and Support,” Journal of In-service Education, 30: 2, 325-352. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13674580400200464

Clandinin, D. Jean (2013): Engaging in narrative inquiry. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press, Inc.

Dewilde, Joke & Thor-Andre Skrefsrud (2016): “Including Alternative Stories in the Mainstream. How Transcultural Young People in Norway Perform Creative Cultural Resistance In and Outside of School,” International Journal of Inclusive Education, 20: 10, 1032–1042. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2016.1145263

Engen Thor Ola (2003): “‘Sometimes I two-times think…’ Competing interpretations of inclusion for language minority students,” Tony Booth, Kari Nes, Marit Strømstad (eds): Developing Inclusive Teacher Education, New York: Routledge, 78-96. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203465233_chapter_5

Fang Lue, Rachel Sun & Mantak Yuen (2016): “Acculturation, Economic Stress, Social Relationships and School Satisfaction Among Migrant Children in Urban China,” Journal of Happiness Studies, 17: 2, 507–531. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9604-6

HK01. (2019): “????????????????????????? [Public-private housing proportion aggregates “sadness”? Too much public housing is not the lesson we learn from Tin Shui Wan],” HK01, 24 May 2019: https://www.hk01.com/01%E8%A7%80%E9%BB%9E/332734/%E5%85%AC%E7%A7%81%E6%AF%94%E8%AA%BF%E6%95%B4%E5%8A%A9%E9%95%B7-%E6%82%B2%E6%83%85-%E5%A4%A9%E6%B0%B4%E5%9C%8D%E7%9A%84%E6%95%99%E8%A8%93%E4%B8%8D%E6%98%AF%E5%85%AC%E5%B1%8B%E5%A4%AA%E5%A4%9A (accessed 23/06/20).

Hogg, Michael (2012): “Social Identity and the Psychology of Groups,” Mark Leary & June Price Tangney (eds), Handbook of Self and Identity, New York, NY: Guilford, 502–519.

Hou, Wai Kai, Tatia Mei-chun Lee, Li Liang, Tsz Wai Li, Huinan Liu, Catherine K. Ettman & Sandro Galea (2021): “Civil Unrest, COVID-19 Stressors, Anxiety, and Depression in the Acute Phase of the Pandemic: A Population-based Study in Hong Kong,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 56, 1499-1508. doi.org/10.1007/s00127-021-02037-5, (assessed 29/11/21). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-021-02037-5

Hui, Eddie Chi Man, Si-ming Li, Francis Wong, Zheng Yi & Ka-hung Yu (2012): “Ethnicity, Cultural Disparity and Residential Mobility: Empirical Analysis of Hong Kong,” Habitat International, 36:1, 1–10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2011.08.003

Jackson, Jane (2002): “In Search of a Home: Identities in Transition in Post-colonial Hong Kong,” English Today, 18:2, 39–45. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078402002067

Jarvis, Peter (2012): “Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Human Learning,” New York, NY: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203001677

Lai, Mee Ling (2011): “Cultural Identity and Language Attitudes – Into the Second Decade of Postcolonial Hong Kong,” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 32:3, 249–264. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2010.539692

Liu, Yang, Xiaoyi Fang, Rong Cai, Yang Wu & Yaofang Zhang (2009): “The Urban Adaptation and Adaptation Process of Urban Migrant Children: A Qualitative Study,” Frontiers of Education in China, 4:3, 365–389. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11516-009-0020-3

Mangan, J. Marshall & C. Kenneth Banks (1999): The Company of Neighbours: Revitalizing Community through Action-Research. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto.

Pettigrew, Thomas (1998): “Intergroup Contact Theory,” Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 65–85. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.65, (assessed 23/06/20) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.65

Shek, Daniel & Lee Tak-yan (2005): “Perceived Parental Behavioral Control, Psychological Control, and Parent–child Relational Qualities in Chinese Adolescents in Hong Kong,” Melissa Kane (ed): Contemporary Issues in Parenting, New York: Nova Science, 47–63.

Slote, Walter & George De Vos (1998): Confucianism and the Family, Albany, NY: SUNY.

Sonderegger, Robi, Paula Barrett & Peter Creed (2004): “Models of Cultural Adjustment for Child and Adolescent Migrants to Australia: Internal Process and Situational Factors,” Journal of Child and Family Studies, 13:3, 357–371. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JCFS.0000022040.37116.0e

Streit, Cara, Gustavo Carlo, George P. Knight, Rebecca M. B. White & Sahitya Maiya (2021). “Relations Among Parenting, Culture, and Prosocial Behaviors in U.S. Mexican Youth: An Integrative Socialization Approach,” Child Development, 92: 4, 383-397. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13550

Tajfel, Henri (2010): “Social identity and intergroup relations,” Cambridge, England: Cambridge University.

Turner, Rhiannon, Miles Hewstone, Alberto Voci & Christiana Vonofakou (2008): “A Test of the Extended Intergroup Contact Hypothesis: The Mediating Role of Intergroup Anxiety, Perceived Ingroup and Outgroup Norms, and Inclusion of the Outgroup in the Self,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95:4, 843–860. doi: 10.1037/a0011434, (assessed 23/06/20). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0011434

Vincent Calligraphy, 2018. A Poem for the Swallows (???? /???????) : Translated by Vincent Poon. (Online) Available at: <http://www.vincentpoon.com/a-poem-for-the-swallows.html> (Assess 25 November 2021).

Wang, Qian & Lei Chang (2010): “Parenting and Child Socialization in Contemporary China,” Michael Harris Bond (ed), Oxford Handbook of Chinese Psychology, New York, NY: Oxford University, 53–68. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199541850.013.0006

Ward, Colleen (1996): “Acculturation,” Dan Landis, Janet Bennett & Milton Bennett (eds), Handbook of Intercultural Training, Newbury Park: Sage, 124–147.

Webster, Leonard & Patricie Mertova (2007): “Using Narrative Inquiry as a Research Method: An Introduction to Using Critical Event Narrative Analysis in Research on Learning and Teaching,” London, England: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203946268

Yip, Anastasia (2015): “Hong Kong and China: One country, Two Systems, Two Identities,” Global Societies Journal 3, https://escholarship.org/uc/item/15v5j7w3, (assessed 23/06/20).

Yoon, Bogum, Anne Simpson & Claudia Haag (2010): “Assimilation Ideology: Critically Examining Underlying Messages in Multicultural Literature,” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 54:2, 109–118. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.54.2.3

Yu, Jing, Charissa Cheah & Grace Calvin (2016): “Acculturation, Psychological Adjustment, and Parenting Styles of Chinese Immigrant Mothers in the U.S,” Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22:4, 504–516. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000091

Yu, Xiaonan, Sunita Stewart, Iris Liu &Lam Tai Hing (2014): “Resilience and Depressive Symptoms in Mainland Chinese Immigrants to Hong Kong,” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49:2, 241–249. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-013-0733-8

Yuan, Xiaojiao, Xiaoyi Fang, Yang Liu, Shumeng Hou & Xiuyun Lin (2013): “Development of Urban Adaptation and Social Identity of Migrant Children in China: A Longitudinal Study,” International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37:3, 354–365. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2012.10.002

Zhang, Han, Yi Peng, Chunliu Li, Hong Lan, Guoqiang Xing, Zhu Chen & Bo Zhang (2020): “Playing Mahjong for 12 Weeks Improved Executive Function in Elderly People with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Study of Implications for TBI-Induced Cognitive Deficits,” Frontier Neurology, 11: 178, doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00178, (assessed 25/11/21). DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00178

Zheng, Xue, David Sang & Lei Wang (2004): “Acculturation and Subjective Well-being of Chinese Students in Australia,” Journal of Happiness Studies, 5:1, 57–72. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOHS.0000021836.43694.02




How to Cite

Yim, E. P.- yu (2022) “A vehicle for positive acculturation: A parent support sharing group in Hong Kong”, Culture Unbound, 14(1), pp. 27–50. doi: 10.3384/cu.3106.