The beneficial role of family enmeshment among South Korean immigrants in the United States

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Abstract

Enmeshment is considered inimical to healthy family dynamics among European Americans. However, recent
studies have failed to show negative associations between family enmeshment and individual outcomes among
Asian Heritage families. Using structural equation modelling and multiple group analysis, this study examined whether
enmeshed relationships are dysfunctional in Korean immigrant families in the United States and whether degree of
acculturation moderated the associations between enmeshment and children’s socioemotional functioning and academic
performance. The sample consisted of 98 South Korean immigrant families with children between 9 and 14 years of age
residing in the Greater New York City Area. Results showed that enmeshed family relationships tended to be beneficial to
child socioemotional functioning and the association became more evident with lower than higher degree of acculturation.
Findings are discussed in terms of the meaning of enmeshment when working with Korean immigrant families in the
United States.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberDOI: 10.1002/ijop.12843
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
StatePublished - Mar 2022

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