Author: Janice Berriault

Yuan Zhang, HDFS Grad Student Spotlight, August 2022

Yuan ZhangYuan Zhang is a Ph.D. candidate who joined the HDFS department in 2017 to work with Dr. Linda Halgunseth. She earned her B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Education from Shanxi University in 2011 and 2014, respectively. She earned a second M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Yuan’s research interests focus broadly on the development and mental health of individuals within minority communities (e.g., ethnic minority and sexual minority) and parenting and parent-child relationships within different cultural contexts. Specifically, Yuan is interested in the role cultural beliefs play in parenting children in China, the well-being of individuals with diverse backgrounds, as well as how acculturation experiences in the U.S. impact immigrant Chinese parents’ well-being, parenting, and child development. Over the past few years, she has been actively involved in multiple research projects on mental health, parenting, and parent-child relationships within diverse populations, including Chinese adolescents, LGBTQ+ college students, international students, as well as parents and children from immigrant families in the U.S.

Yuan successfully defended her dissertation in July 2022. In her dissertation, Yuan explored the association between Chinese immigrant mothers’ parental psychological control and its association with the mothers’ acculturation experience, as well as their indirect association via parental psychological adjustment using data from over 200 Chinese immigrant mothers and their children ages 3-6.

In addition to research, Yuan has actively sought leadership experiences within international societies. In 2019, she was elected through a competitive process to serve as a graduate student representative on the SRCD Asian Caucus International Scholars Network Subcommittee. Yuan continues to work in this capacity and has enjoyed collaborating with developmental researchers in ways that support and promote collaborations among international scholars across the world.

After graduation, Yuan will be working as a Research Associate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. She will support Dr. Linda Halgunseth’s research activities that focus on parenting and parent-child relationships, as well as the developmental outcomes of children and adolescents, considering the critical role of cultural context.