College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Zha Blong Xiong

  • Associate Professor

Zha Blong Xiong

Areas of interest

Child Adjustment in the Family Context in Immigrant and Refugee Families
Community Engagement and Education
Program Development and Evaluation
Southeast Asian American Families

I am accepting new advisees for fall 2024 in the MA, PhD, and MA/PhD programs.


Ph.D., Family Social Science, University of Minnesota
M.A., Family Social Science, University of Minnesota
B.A., Psychology, Winona State University


My primary research interests focus on the social and cultural capital that promotes (or hinders) healthy development in children, especially with children of immigrant and refugee families.  Currently, I have two distinct but interrelated projects that try to understand how social and cultural capital influence children’s educational and psychosocial adjustment over time.

The Hmong Children’s Longitudinal Study which tries to understand how children’s (beginning in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades) social and cultural capital change over time and when do these changes begin to affect children’s psychosocial, relational and educational adjustment. Data have been collected for two waves and participants will continue to be followed for the next three years.

The Perceptions and Experiences of English Learners and Their Family Members is a qualitative study that tries to address the disproportionally high number of Hmong students being placed in the EL (English Learners) program . For example, Hmong students are the second largest EL population in Minnesota (n=19,889) even though they only make up about 2% of the K-12 student population in Minnesota (MDE, 2015-2016; Pfeifer et al., 2012), and surprisingly more than 95% of them belong to the 2nd and 3rd generations (Pfeifer et al., 2012; MDH – Refugee Program). Data from multiple perspectives (parents, children, and EL teachers) will be initiated and analyzed beginning in summer of 2018

Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Intervention in the Hmong Community (the Hmong Teen Pregnancy Project) – The goal of this two year project is to test the effectiveness of the Making Proud Choices or Kev Xaiv Curriculum with Hmong American youth in middle school and the best practices identified by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy with Hmong second-generation young parents. The Hmong Teen Pregnancy Project is supported by grants from the Minnesota Department of Health. The project began in June, 2012.

Youth for Change (Y2C) – The goal of this three year project is to engage youth and young adults to be leaders focusing on policy work while empowering positive changes within the Southeast Asian communities through policy, empowerment, and advocacy. It is funded by the Minnesota Department of Health. The project began in February, 2011. 

Social Networks and Child Adjustment  – The purpose of this study is to examine the impact social and family networks has on children’s adjustment, especially children’s educational achievement. This is an interdisciplinary research project and began in July 2013.

Outreach & Engagement

Hmong Early Childhood Education

STEEP: Statewide Tobacco Education and Engagement Project


Lo, N., Xiong, Z. B., Meschke, L. L, Xiong, V., Kehrer, K. M., & Xiong, M. (2018). Sex education for Hmong American youth: Challenges and lessons learned. Hmong Studies Journal, 19(2), 1-38.

Mao, D., Deenanath, V., & Xiong, Z. B. (2012). Hmong students’ perceptions of their family environment: A consensual qualitative analysis of family photos. Hmong Studies Journal, 13(1), 1-27.

1. Romstad, C. & Xiong, Z. B. (2017). Measuring formal intelligence in the informal learner: A case study of Hmong American students and cognitive assessment. Hmong Studies Journal, 18, 1-31.

Smalkoski, K., Herther, N. K., Xiong, Z. B., Ritsema, K., Vang, R., & Zheng, R. (2012). Health disparities research in the Hmong American community: Implications for practice and policy. Hmong Studies Journal, 13(2), 1-32.

Xiong, Z. B., Deenanath, V., & Mao, D. (2013). Parent-child relationships in Hmong immigrant families in the United States (pp. 91-106). In M. Karraker (Ed.), The Other People: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Migration. New York: Palgrave.

Xiong, Z. B., & Huang, J. (2011). Predicting Hmong adolescent boys’ and girls’ delinquent behaviors: An exploratory study. Hmong Study Journal, 12, 1-34.

Xiong, Z. B., Newell, J., Hoskins, L., Angelica, E., Watkins, E., Bui, H., Daoheuang, M., Touy, R., Yang, T. T., & Shamblott, M. (2013, March). STEEP’s policy development and implementation handbook: Lessons learned, tips, tools, and resources for Southeast Asian community leaders. St. Paul, MN: Regents of the University of Minnesota.


Xiong, Z. B. (2019, November). Hmong traditional health beliefs, familism, and end of life care. Workshop presented at the 4th Annual Ethnics Symposium: Cultural and Religious implications at end of life. Minneapolis, MN.

Braughton, J., Xiong, Z. B., & Nickodem, K. (2019, November). The influence of social capital on Hmong children’s self-perception of academic competence. Paper presented at NCFR Annual Conference, Fort Worth, Texas.

Lo, N. & Xiong, Z. B. (2019, November). Understanding perceived parental involvement and children’s academic performance at five Hmong-focused charter schools. Poster presented at NCFR Annual Conference, Fort Worth, Texas.

Xiong, Z. B. (2019, October). The Hmong children’s longitudinal study: The influence of social capital on children’s academic adjustment and performance. Paper presented at the Society for the Human Development’s 11th Biennial Meeting: Stress, Resilience and Character Development  Across the Lifespan, Portland, OR.

Xiong, Z. B. (2019, October). The influence of school capital on Hmong children's self-perception of academic competence. Paper presented at 5th Hmong Studies Consortium International Conference. St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN.

1. Xiong, Z. B. & Ramstad, C. (2018, April). Measuring formal intelligence in the informal learner: A case study of Hmong American students and cognitive assessment. Seventh Annual International Conference, Center for Hmong Studies, St. Paul, MN.

2. Lo, N. & Xiong, Z. B. (2017, April). Multiple Family Members’ Perceptions of the Causes of Delinquent Behaviors in Hmong American Families. 18th Hmong National Development Conference. Milwaukee, WI.

3. St. Charles, J. & Xiong, Z. B. (2017, April). Daily Experiences and Time Spent Studying: The Case of Hmong American Students in Minnesota. 18th Hmong National Development Conference. Milwaukee, WI.

4. Xiong, Z. B. (2017, April). Assessment of the evolution and efficacy of sex education for the Hmong American adolescents: Challenges and prospects. 18th Hmong National Development Conference. Milwaukee, WI.

5. Lor, N. & Xiong, Z. B. (2016, March). It takes a village to raise a child: How social networks impact Hmong students’ college accessibility and choice. 6th International Conference on Hmong Studies. Concordia University, St. Paul, MN.

What Students Can Expect From Me

Graduate and undergraduate students can expect to be treated with respect and caring, and in turn, are expected to treat others the same. They are expected to help co-create knowledge with me whether it’s through my research or teaching. They are offered opportunities to engage in hands-on research with other team members and community collaborators to find answers to questions that can be used to improve children’s development. As an engaged scholar, students in my courses are expected to work in a team atmosphere, engage in the materials, and be involved in some level of community work.

Teaching and Learning

FSoS 3102 Family Systems and Diversity
FSoS 4108 Understanding and Working with Immigrant and Refugee Families
FSoS 8005 Multicultural Issues

Honors and Awards

2017 Community Outreach and Engagement Faculty Award, College of Education and Human Development
2017 Certificate of Outstanding Leadership, Hmong 18 Council, Inc.
2014 Outstanding Leadership Award, Lao Family Foundation
2011 Lee Knefelkamp Research Award, Minnesota College Personnel Association, Minnesota