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Adolescent precursors of early union formation among Asian American and Whites

By Yen-hsin Alice Cheng and Nancy S. Landale


This study investigates the relatively low rates of early marriage and cohabitation among Asian Americans compared to Whites. With an emphasis on family value socialization and other precursors measured in adolescence, data from Waves 1 and 3 of Add Health are used to test five hypotheses. Analyses of early marriage indicate that the Asian-White difference is driven primarily by differences in adolescent sexual and romantic relationship experiences, and several measures of family values play a stronger role among Asian Americans than Whites. Asian-White differences in cohabitation persist net of SES and other adolescent precursors, but differences are attenuated when parental value socialization, intimate relationship experiences, and educational investments are controlled. These results are interpreted within a culturally sensitive conceptual framework that emphasizes independent versus interdependent construals of the self.America

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