Language Acculturation, Acculturation-Related Stress, and Marital Quality in Chinese American Couples

Yang Hou, Lisa A. Neff, Su Yeong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The current study examines the longitudinal indirect pathways linking language acculturation to marital quality. Three waves of data were collected from 416 Chinese American couples for 8 years (Mage.wave1 = 48 for husbands, 44 for wives). Actor–partner interdependence model analyses revealed that for both husbands and wives, lower levels of language acculturation were associated with higher levels of stress over being stereotyped as a perpetual foreigner. Individuals' foreigner stress, in turn, was directly related to greater levels of their own and their partners' marital warmth, suggesting that foreigner stress may have some positive relational effects. However, individuals' foreigner stress also was associated with increases in their own depressive symptoms, which predicted higher levels of marital hostility in the partner. Overall, these results underscore the complexity of how language acculturation and foreigner stress relate to marital quality and the importance of considering the interdependence of the marital system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-568
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 National Council on Family Relations


  • Asian Americans
  • acculturation
  • and/or resiliency
  • coping
  • dyadic/couple data
  • longitudinal
  • marriage
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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