Thirty-one percent of Chinese Americans affiliate with being Christian, making Christianity the largest religious group for the Chinese in the United States (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2012) and Chinese churches are the leading religious institutions among Chinese in America (Yang, 1999b). First generation Chinese American Christian parents have endured much through the immigration experience and put in their best efforts to raise their children in a foreign land where they have experienced discrimination, downward mobility (Zhou, 2009), and acculturative stress.
Second generation Chinese American Christians struggle with conflict with their parents and their ties to Chinese American culture, values and Christian faith (Sam Kim & Park, 2012). This intersection of culture and faith requires further research in the field of marital and family sciences. In the literature reviewed, what is especially lacking is an exploration of how the Christian faith plays a role in impacting intergenerational relationships of Chinese American families.
This dissertation is grounded on the framework of Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) ecological theory, which allows for the multiple systemic contexts under which Chinese American Christian families find themselves. Critical Race Theory and Locational Feminism/Intersectionality are intertwined to deepen understanding of the cultural and faith pieces of their lived experiences.
An interpretative phenomenological approach of analysis is used to develop a more complete understanding of the relational and familial dynamics among Chinese American Christians, how these dynamics show up in and get addressed by the Chinese church communities, and how might this awareness better inform family therapists about the cultural and spiritual ways of pursuing health and wellness in this context.
There are two publishable papers from this study: the first paper tells of the experiences of first and second generation Chinese American Christian family members and their intergenerational family dynamics as experienced in their context; the second paper references findings from the first paper and integrates these with the perspectives of pastors, discussing implications for how faith communities and the mental health field might work together for the wellness of these families and their communities.
Marital and Family Therapy
Counseling and Family Sciences
School of Behavioral Health
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Chinese Americans-Family Relationship; Chinese American Families;
Subject - Local
Ecological Theory; Critical Race Theory; Interpretive Phenomenological Approach Analysis
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
ChenFeng, Jessica Lynn, "The Lived Experience of Chinese American Christians in Family Life" (2014). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. Paper 191.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives