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From Parent Beliefs to Adolescent Experiences: Relationship Quality and Ethnic-Racial Socialization in Latinx Families

Fri, March 22, 7:45 to 9:15am, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 1, Exhibit Hall B

Integrative Statement

Background. Messages Latinx adolescents receive about race and culture from their families shape how they view themselves, their ethnic-racial group membership, and their place in the world (Hughes et al., 2006; Laursen & Collins, 2009; Umaña-Taylor & Fine, 2004). However, research is mixed concerning the extent to which Latinx adolescents attend and adhere to ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) messages in the home (González, Umaña-Taylor, & Bámaca, 2006; Umaña-Taylor, Alfaro, Bámaca, & Guimond, 2009). This may be partially due to developmental changes in parent-adolescent relationships, which often become strained as youth seek increased autonomy in ways that may lessen communication and engender conflict (Brown & Larson, 2009). We argue that parent-adolescent relationship quality likely shapes the climate in which adolescents receive, and potentially internalize, ERS messages (Adams & Laursen, 2001; Bakken & Brown, 2010; Smetana, 1989). Adapting Grusec and Goodnow’s (1994) model of parental socialization, we predicted that, among Latinx parents and adolescents, a positive and communicative relationship would strengthen the relation between parents’ ERS beliefs and adolescents’ experiences of ethnic socialization in the home.

Method. Participants included 148 Latino parent-adolescent dyads from the Midwestern U.S. at Wave 1 (parents age 32-55, 79% female; adolescents age 13-14, 53% female) and 141 adolescents at Wave 2 (ages 13-16, 54% female). Parents reported their ERS beliefs across three dimensions: cultural socialization, preparation for bias, and promotion of mistrust (Hughes, 2004). Adolescents reported their perceptions of conflict and disclosure with their parents (Furman & Buhrmester, 2009), as well as their familial ethnic socialization (FES) experiences, across two waves (Umaña-Taylor, 2001).

Results. Multiple hierarchical regressions indicated that parents’ cultural socialization beliefs positively predicted adolescents’ FES experiences one year later (β = 2.073, p = .040). Further, disclosure positively moderated the relationship between parents’ promotion of mistrust beliefs and adolescent’ FES experiences (β = .194, p = .016), such that FES experiences were significantly lower when disclosure was low and mistrust beliefs were high (t = -2.163, p < .05). In addition, parent-adolescent conflict negatively moderated the longitudinal relationship between parents’ preparation for bias beliefs and adolescent’ FES experiences (β = -.155, p < .05), such that FES experiences diminished over time when conflict was low and preparation for bias beliefs were low (t = 2.683, p < .05).

Discussion. As one of the fastest growing and highly stigmatized ethnic-racial groups in U.S., examining ERS processes among Latinx families is both timely and necessary. Our findings suggest that parents’ socialization beliefs regarding their children’s culture, traditions, and values are associated with adolescents’ experiences of ethnic socialization in the home. However, for potentially uncomfortable or negative parental socialization beliefs regarding outgroup discrimination and mistrust, relationship quality plays a more significant role. To that end, parent-adolescent relationships that are high in communication or low in discord appear conducive toward developing youth’s understanding of race and culture within their families. Future researchers are encouraged to explore how parents and adolescents may develop positive relationship quality, and thus potentially encourage youth to think about their ethnic-racial group in positive ways.


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