Cultural Orientation Gaps Within a Family Systems Perspective

Mayra Y. Bámaca-Colbert, Carolyn S. Henry, Norma Perez-Brena, Jochebed G. Gayles, Griselda Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The intersection of a family's heritage culture and mainstream cultural norms results in person-to-person differences in values, beliefs, and behaviors, particularly among immigrant families. These differences often lead to divergent cultural views and patterns of behavior both within and between family members. According to the acculturation-gap distress hypothesis, cultural orientation gaps between family members have consequences for family functioning, particularly adolescents' adjustment. Studies supporting this notion have primarily focused on processes in parent–adolescent dyads. Although scholarship on family cultural gaps emerged from a systems perspective, applications of key systems tenets are notably limited in existing work. In this article, we review the background and current state of research on family cultural gaps, provide an overview of key principles of systems perspectives, and integrate the literature on cultural gaps with key systems principles to identify future directions in research and theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)524-543
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family Theory and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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