Family loyalty is defined primarily in two different ways: (1) as adherence to norms of filial obligation; and (2) as the level of intergenerational solidarity or closeness between the generations in a family. Both of these definitions have been studied within ethnocultural family contexts. Specifically, much of the research on filial obligation has focused on Asian and Asian immigrant families, while other investigations into the development and maintenance of familistic attitudes and behaviors—the foundation for solidarity—have been done with Hispanic immigrants.
One shortcoming of the literature on family loyalty is that it fails to incorporate broader definitions or measures; that is, the research continues to define and measure loyalty according to adult children's levels of filial obligation or as attitudinal or behavioral congruence or similarity between parents and children. Clearly, other intragenerational measures, such as the quality of children's relationship with siblings and the quality of husband-wife relationships, can be used to measure familism.
Finally, to gain a better understanding of family loyalty across ethno-cultural groups, particularly in countries with large immigrant populations like Canada and the United States, it is important to explore the diversity that exists within each group. Future research in this area then should examine the effects of ethnic identity, language spoken in the home, and immigrant status on measures of loyalty within families. Such analyses will provide valuable insights into the nature of loyalty in ethnic minority families.
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KAREN M. KOBAYASHI