Su Yeong Kim

Associate ProfessorPh.D. HDFS, University of California, Davis

Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, College of Natural Sciences
Su Yeong Kim



Mexican American and Chinese American families and immigration, acculturation, language brokering, parenting, depressive symptoms, school achievement, measurement invariance


Postdoctoral Fellow, Prevention Research Center, Arizona State University 
Ph.D., Human Development, University of California, Davis 
B.A., Psychology (Departmental Honors), University of Southern California
B.S., Business Administration (Information Systems), University of Southern California

Research Interests

Su Yeong Kim, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She studies the intersection of family and cultural contexts in understanding the development of children of immigrants in the United States, with a focus on children of Chinese and Mexico-origin.  Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

She examines how culturally relevant developmental processes (acculturation) and stressors (physiological, culture-specific) directly, indirectly, or interactively show stability, change, or growth to shape parent-child relationships (parenting, tiger parenting, father-child relationships) and adjustment transitions and outcomes (academic achievement, depressive symptoms) among minority adolescents and young adults.  She also develops and tests the measurement invariance of culturally relevant measures for use with ethnic minorities. For example, she developed measures of language brokering to capture the subjective experiences of adolescents translating for monolingual, immigrant parents with limited English skills. 

Her research has revealed that the commonly held perception of Asian American parents as “tiger parents” being responsible for producing child prodigies is inaccurate. In fact, her eight year longitudinal study of Chinese American families demonstrate supportive parenting as the most common type of parenting leading to the most optimal outcomes in terms of both academic and socio-emotional adjustment in Chinese American adolescents. Her studies on language brokering among Mexican American adolescents reveals that children experience both a sense of burden and efficacy in translating for their non-English fluent, Spanish-speaking parents, and that their perceptions of the language brokering experience relate directly to their socio-emotional adjustment.

Dr. Kim is accepting new Ph.D. students for Fall 2017. Application deadline is December 1, 2016 for the Human Development and Family Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin. Please inquire directly with Dr. Kim at

HDFS faculty webpage

Current and Recent Grants

Funding Agency Role Title/Award Number Total Award/Dates
National Science Foundation’s Developmental and Learning Sciences Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences PI

CAREER: Language Brokering and Child Adjustment in Mexican American Children







Select Publications (81 Journal Publications)

Kim, S. Y., Hou, Y., & Gonzalez, Y. (in press). Language brokering and depressive symptoms in Mexican American adolescents: Parent-child alienation and resilience as moderators. Child Development.

Kim, S. Y., Hou, Y. (in press). Intergenerational transmission of tridimensional cultural orientation in Chinese American families: The role of bicultural socialization. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 

Shen, Y., Kim, S. Y., & Wang, Y. (in press). Intergenerational transmission of educational attitudes in Chinese American families: Interplay of socioeconomic status and acculturation. Child Development.

Hou, Y., Kim, S. Y., Swann, N., & Benner, A. D. (in press). Parents’ perceived discrimination and adolescent adjustment in Chinese American families: Mediating family processes. Child Development.

Hou, Y., Kim, S. Y., & Wang., Y. (in press). Parental acculturative stressors and adolescent adjustment through interparental and parent-child relationships in Chinese American families. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Juang, L. P., Shen, Y., Wang, Y., & Kim, S. Y. (in press). Development of an Asian American parent racial-ethnic socialization scale. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Kim, S. Y., Shen, Y., Hou, Y., Tilton, K., Juang, L. P., & Wang, Y. (2015). Annual review of Asian American psychology, 2014. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 6, 291-332. doi:10.1037/aap0000031

Kim, S. Y., Wang, Y., Shen, Y., & Hou, Y. (2015). Stability and change in adjustment profiles among Chinese American adolescents: The role of parenting. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44, 1735-1751. doi:10.1007/s10964-015-0303-3 

Kim, S. Y., Wang, Y., Chen, Q., Shen, Y., & Hou, Y.  (2015). Parent-child acculturation profiles as predictors of Chinese American adolescents’ academic trajectories. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44, 1263-1274. doi:10.1007/s10964-014-0131-x.

Hou, Y., Kim, S. Y., Wang., Y., Shen, Y., & Orozco-Lapray, D.  (2015). Longitudinal reciprocal relationships between discrimination and ethnic affect or depressive symptoms among Chinese American adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44, 2110-2121. doi: 10.1007/s10964-015-0300-6

Wang, Y., Benner, A. D., & Kim, S. Y. (2015). The Cultural Socialization Scale: Assessing parent and peer socialization toward heritage and mainstream cultures. Psychological Assessment, 27, 1452-1462. doi: 10.1037/pas0000136

Kim, S. Y., Wang, Y., Weaver, S. R., Shen, Y., Wu-Seibold, N., & Liu, C. H. (2014). Measurement equivalence of the language-brokering scale for Chinese American adolescents and their parents. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 180-192. doi: 10.1037/a0036030. PMCID: PMC4041685.

Kim, S. Y., Shen, Y., Huang, X., Wang, Y., & Orozco-Lapray, D. (2014). Chinese American parents’ acculturation and enculturation, bicultural management difficulty, depressive symptoms, and parenting. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 5, 298-306. doi:10.1037/a0035929

Shen, Y., Kim, S. Y., Wang, Y., & Chao, R. K. (2014). Language brokering and adjustment among Chinese and Korean American adolescents: A moderated mediation model of perceived maternal sacrifice, respect for the mother, and mother-child open communication. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 5, 86-95. doi: 10.1037/a0035203

Awards and Honors

Top 25 Downloaded Article

  • Kim et. al (2013)’s tiger parenting paper recognized as Top 25 downloaded paper across 82 journals between 1946-2013 by the American Psychological Association.  

Best Paper Award

  • Kim et. al (2013)’s tiger parenting paper (Does “Tiger Parenting” Exist? Parenting Profiles of Chinese Americans and Adolescent Developmental Outcomes”) recognized with Asian American Journal of Psychology Best Paper Award, 2014

 Fellow Status

  • Fellow, American Psychological Association, Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race), 2014
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science, 2013
  • Fellow, Asian American Psychological Association, 2013

 Early Career Awards

  • Young Scientist Award, International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, 2010
  • Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions (Scholarship), Asian American Psychological Association, 2010





HDF 380k.1 (Human Development and Family Sciences): Research Methods in Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin

HDF 394 (Human Development and Family Sciences): Immigration and the Family, University of Texas at Austin


HDF 315L (Human Development and Family Sciences): Research Methods in Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin

HDF 343 (Human Development and Family Sciences): Human Development in Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Families, University of Texas at Austin

Student Opportunities

Undergraduate research assistants are sought for various positions, including interviewing and calling participants, data management, data analysis, transcriptions, and general office tasks related to the reserach. Contact for more information and to schedule an interview. Students with written and verbal proficiency in Spanish or Chinese (Cantonese) are encouraged to inquire about current research opportunities. Spanish/Chinese language fluency is desirable but not required.

Dr. Kim is accepting new Ph.D. students for Fall 2017. Application deadline is December 1, 2016 for the Human Development and Family Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin. Please inquire directly with Dr. Kim at

Doctoral Students Currently Supervised by Dr. Kim

The following students are currently being supervised by Dr. Su Yeong Kim, for the Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences

  • Yang Hou
  • Yishan Shen
  • Minyu Zhang
  • Diana Orozco-Lapray