Qualitative methods such as McAdam's Life Story Interview offer a rich means of exploring how culture affects an individual's development. Such a method has seldom been used with Asian Americans. In the present study, 20 Cambodian American teenagers aged 15-18 (half female, half male) narrated the high, low, and turning points of their lives. Those narratives were transcribed and coded with respect to the predominant emotional valence and context of those key events. Half of high point narratives were painful events that the narrator had recast in a positive light, a hallmark of resilience and of a tendency to redeem positive outcomes from negative events. The most frequent context for high points was the family, indicative of the importance of family to these participants. Similarly, low points were dominated by narration of family conflict. Turning points most often involved peers, reflecting the prominence of peers in adolescent identity negotiation, as well as achievement. Throughout all these key events, narrators gave us a view of the complex, multifaceted way the historical events of their parents' background permeated their lives.
McCabe, Allyssa and Dinh, Khanh
"High Points, Low Points, Turning Points: Life Stories of Cambodian American Youth,"
Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement: Vol. 13
, Article 1.
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jsaaea/vol13/iss1/1