Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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The ecological theory of cultural change suggests that socioeconomic development enhances individualism and weakens collectivism. Yet, collectivism in terms of childcare arrangements seems to persist in rapidly transforming China. It is possible that Confucian ideals and rural to urban migration promoted kin-based cooperation and enhanced collectivism. To explore such possibilities, forty-five caregivers of two generations from an ethnic village located in the Southwest of China were invited to share their childcare arrangements, priorities, and histories. Iterative thematic analyses revealed that improved life quality allowed caregivers the time and resources to attend to children’s personal well-being, whilst socioeconomic potentials and limitations pressured caregivers to cooperate for children’s developments. Emphases on psychological autonomy and relatedness, and material relatedness all increased. Further, regardless of migrant status, grandparents (n = 24) and parents (n = 21) readily agreed on childcare cooperation for supporting their children’s education and future mobility. Traditional virtues, such as filial piety, endurance, and sacrifice, fostered caregivers’ reciprocal and kin altruism, proposing the involvement of morality in explaining cultural orientations and changes.


I thank the following individuals for their expertise and assistance contributed to various aspects of this manuscript. I thank local teacher Miss Yuting Jiang for serving as the second coder to analyze the interviews and establish inter-rater reliability with me. I also thank my colleague Dr. Sierra Ryan for providing feedbacks on the content and improving the quality of the writing.

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