Abstract: Promoting Social Support and Reducing Child Maltreatment: A Parenting Group Intervention Among Chinese Immigrant Parents (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

Promoting Social Support and Reducing Child Maltreatment: A Parenting Group Intervention Among Chinese Immigrant Parents

Friday, January 13, 2023
Laveen B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Fuhua Zhai, PhD, Professor, Fordham University, New York
Qin Gao, Ph.D., Professor, Columbia University, New York, NY
Background and Purpose:

Immigrants often experience disrupted social support network as well as increased stress. Some of them also experience traumatized separations and disrupted attachments with their children. As a result, many immigrant parents rely on their traditional practices of child discipline, including physical discipline, especially in dealing with their children’s behavior problems. Meanwhile, few interventions have been designed to promote social support for immigrant parents and reduce child maltreatment. This study examined the impact of parenting group intervention, an 8-week social group model that was designed and implemented among Chinese immigrant parents to provide culturally enriched social support and help parents cope with their children’s behavioral challenges and reduce child maltreatment.


Participants were recruited using a convenience sampling method from Chinese immigrant parents who were concerned by their children’s behavior problems in New York City. Parents were randomly assigned to the intervention or control group, with pre- and post-test data collected in both groups. The sample for analysis included 128 parents. Social support was measured by perceptions of support from significant others, family, and friends. Child maltreatment was measured by psychological aggression, physical assault, and neglect. OLS regressions were conducted, controlling for parent, child, and household characteristics. A mediation analysis was further conducted to examine whether the reduction in child maltreatment could be attributed to the increase in perceived social support.


Preliminary results showed that, compared to parents in the control group, those in the parenting group intervention had significantly higher perceived social support, especially support from significant others and friends (with effect sizes of 0.21 to 0.40). The parenting group intervention also significantly reduced the frequencies of child maltreatment, including psychological aggression, physical assault, and neglect (with effect sizes ranging from -0.60 to -0.22). A mediation analysis showed that approximately 16% to 22% of the reduction in child maltreatment measures could be attributed to the increase in social support.

Conclusions and Implications:

The findings can inform researchers, social workers, and other human service practitioners about providing culturally enriched social support and services to reduce child maltreatment in the Chinese immigrant community. This parenting group intervention was developed and implemented by clinical social workers based on their long-time work experiences with Chinese immigrants in their own communities. Implemented in a group setting, this model had low cost, especially compared to individual and family counseling, and can be easily expended to other social service agencies through the training of group leaders and facilitators.