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More Than Just Tiger Moms

To accompany our story today on why it's worrisome that Asian Americans have become a model of academic achievement, "The Problem With a Culture of Excellence," here's a guide that's meant to serve as a starting point to the research literature on related subjects.
(Photo: Elle Arden Images/Shutterstock)

(Photo: Elle Arden Images/Shutterstock)

Social scientists have been studying Asian American achievement and parenting styles long before Amy Chua, self-proclaimed tiger mom, uttered her battle cry. After Chua’s memoir was published in 2011, some of these studies were propelled into public awareness. These select works from the post-tiger-mom era indicate the breadth and depth of research on Asian American children, parents, and academic achievement.

  • April 2011: A study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology shows that, among Chinese-Canadian parents, those who are more inclined toward Canadian culture believe they are more effective parents in “a new intercultural context.”
  • July 2012: A Sociology of Education study describes how East Asian Americans are more likely to take SAT test prep and benefit more (in terms of test scores) than other ethnic groups.
  • October 2012: Child Psychiatry & Human Development publishes a study showing Asian American children are at higher risk for anxiety and depressive problems than their peers.
  • March 2013: Asian American Journal of Psychology dedicates a special issue to “offer a more nuanced and accurate perspective on Asian-heritage parenting by taking readers beyond the myth of the tiger mother and dispelling some of the stereotypical, monolithic notions of parenting within Asian-heritage families.” The issue includes Su Yeong Kim’s longitudinal study that describes four distinct parenting styles among Asian families.
  • April 2014: In Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a series of studies shows Asian American kids are more likely to view pressure from their parents as positive rather than negative, compared to white American peers. After failure, Asian Americans are more motivated by their mothers than white Americans.


The Problem With a Culture of Excellence