Family sociologists explore the societal conditions contributing to the need for young adults to move home following the completion of school. This is known as the boomerang phenomenon, and it can be seen as part of a new life stage in which young adults explore their identities, are unstable and self-focused, feel in-between adolescence and adulthood, and sense broad possibilities for the future. Although scholars explore this condition for contemporary young adults, previous literature does not account for the extra pressures that Asian-Americans face. This research project asks, How do college-aged Asian-Americans deal with expectations of success in a contemporary society that presents them with pressures of having to return home due to financial instability? I explore this question through eight qualitative interviews of college-aged Asian-Americans, four men and four women. I find that they feel separate pressures from their mothers and their fathers. I differentiate these as a "tiger mom" style and a "dragon dad" style of demanding success. Secondly, I find that my respondents experience expectations of success which stem from their families in the form of a success frame and from the model minority myth, which stems from the broader society. I call this a "baby panda" style of experiencing demands for success. Finally, I find that these respondents confront pressures to return home because of financial instability and pressures to fulfill familial obligations after college. In conclusion, my study reveals that young Asian-Americans go through emerging adulthood with extra pressures that come with being an Asian-American. My research contributes to our understanding of why Asian-American college students may express higher rates of depression than White college students. My research also adds to our understanding of the boomerang phenomenon by noting the extra pressures dealt with by Asian-Americans. Future research will explore the role of generational status in the experience of emerging adulthood for young Asian-Americans.
Tam, Corinne, "Tiger Moms, Dragon Dads, and Baby Pandas: Cultural Expectations of Success Among Asian-American College Students" (2019). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 349.