The Impact of Acculturation on Family Empowerment in Japanese Families with School-Aged Children
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Abstract As the number of foreign-born population has increased from 9.7 million in 1960 to 40 million in 2010 (The U.S. Census Bureau, 2010), it is crucial for school professionals to understand how acculturation process may impact immigrant families’ engagement with the school as well as how to help the parents become the best advocate for their children in school settings. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the acculturation and the level of family empowerment among Japanese mothers of school-aged children with disabilities and Japanese mothers of school-aged children without disability. A survey was administered to gather basic demographic and immigration status information as well as responses to questions related to family empowerment and acculturation. Survey responses were collected from 110 Japanese mothers who have children aged between 4 and 12 in and near Seattle areas. This survey included questions from Suinn-Lew Asian Self-Identify Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA; Suinn, Rickard-Figueroa, Lew, & Vigil, 1987) as an acculturation measure for Japanese mothers and Family Empowerment Scale-Japanese (FES-J; Wakimizu et al., 2010) as a measure for their family empowerment level. Linear and multiple regression analyses were used to examine the associations between acculturation and family empowerment. The present study found that Japanese mothers who report higher level of acculturation toward majority culture was uniquely contributing to higher sense of empowerment to help or meet the needs of their children at home and at school. Specifically, the mother’s acculturation level toward majority culture and the level of language proficiency were more highly associated with increased sense of empowerment toward service access and knowledge than other family empowerment variables studied. This study did not find mother’s overall acculturation level nor level of language proficiency as unique predictors of confidence of their ability to successfully help their children. Though the results indicated that only a small variance of their family empowerment were explained by their acculturation, this study contributed to the understanding of Japanese’ family empowerment in the school setting in the light of acculturation. This will help identify program that better prepares school professionals working with Japanese families at various acculturation stages.
- Education - Seattle