November 2020 Spotlight, Yang Hou, Ph.D.

This month, we are delighted to introduce Dr. Yang Hou (yang.hou@uky.edu) as our member in the spotlight. Yang is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Human Environmental Sciences at University of Kentucky. Her research seeks to understand how contextual factors (e.g., sociocultural, family, school) influence child and adolescent development in socioemotional, behavioral, cognitive, and health domains. Specifically, she has developed and will continue to develop two main lines of research inquiry, investigating 1) how ethnic minority-related experiences (e.g., discrimination, acculturation, language brokering) influence family processes (e.g., marital and parent-child relationships) and adolescent well-being, and 2) how to interpret and handle informant discrepancies in reports of family variables (e.g., parenting). Recently, she started another line of research aiming to document and explain the variability in neuropsychological outcomes of children and adolescents with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (i.e., a genetic disorder).  

  • What drew you to do work on Asians, Asian American children and youth, or another topic that is important to you now? who was an important mentor to you in this work, or an influential particular study in the field or in a related field?

It was economic migration in rural China and the impact on children separated from their parents that first piqued my research interest. My journey of research started when I investigated the mental health of children who were left-behind in rural homes by their parents who migrated to cities for better job opportunities, under the mentorship of Dr. Zhan Xu at Southwest University. Migration—within and between countries—can have profound effects on children and their families. I continued to study the effect of migration on Asian American and Mexican American families while working with Dr. Su Yeong Kim and Dr. Aprile D. Benner at the University of Texas at Austin. I extended this line of research on disadvantaged groups to examine also the development of children who have genetic diseases when working with Dr. Pamela L. Wolters at the National Institute of Health. Meanwhile, inspired by the work of Dr. Andres De Los Reyes, another important line of my research is to address informant effect when studying how family variables relate to adolescent outcomes.

  • A short paragraph describing a particular recent finding, current study, or recent publication and what makes you excited about it. 

In clinical and developmental studies of children and families, using multiple informants has become a “gold standard”. Yet different informants (e.g., parents and children) often provide inconsistent information regarding the same study construct, which poses challenges for researchers and clinicians to interpret and handle informant discordance. In my recent publication in American Psychologist (https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2019-31327-001), I used meta-analysis to investigate the extent and potential moderators of the relation between parent- and adolescent-reported parenting. By systematically synthesizing 313 studies involving both parent- and adolescent-reported parenting, this study demonstrated that the levels of parent-adolescent discordance were higher for younger (versus older) and male (versus female) adolescents, for non-clinical parents (versus parents with internalizing symptoms), in more individualistic societies such as the U.S., and in ethnic minority (versus White), low (versus high) socioeconomic status, and non-intact (versus intact) families among U.S. samples. I also qualitatively reviewed 36 studies that directly examined how parent-adolescent discordance in perceptions of parenting relates to adolescent outcomes. I revealed current approaches and main findings in studies of parent-adolescent discordance and discussed the problems and/or advantages of each approach. My work highlights that parent-adolescent discordance in reports of parenting should not be discarded as merely measurement error; instead, such discordance has substantive meaning and significant implications for adolescent development. The findings have broad implications for social science methodology concerning how to interpret and handle informant discordance and developmental research regarding how parent-adolescent discordance in perceptions relate to adolescent outcomes. The findings also have clinical applications as family therapists and clinicians can use the information to better decide how to use parent and adolescent reports and to target families with higher levels of parent-adolescent discordance for preventive interventions.

  • Any thoughts about your experiences with the Asian Caucus?

I regularly attend Asian Caucus events at SRCD and SRA conferences. I feel it is a great platform to connect with other scholars in the field. I am very grateful for all the valuable advice and experiences shared with me by other Asian Caucus members.

  • A preferred weblink

https://hes.ca.uky.edu/person/yang-hou

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