Understanding How Mothers and Fathers Negotiate Race-Related Discussions

Understanding How Mothers and Fathers Negotiate Race-Related Discussions

Several models that address the development of African American youth have discussed the importance of parent socialization that prepares youth to cope with one’s status as a racial/ethnic minority and promotes pride in one’s racial group (Hughes et al., 2006). Studies have indicated that a sizeable number of African American parents report socializing their children about issues pertaining to race and culture (e.g., Coard et al., 2004). Further, studies have demonstrated that multiple dimensions of racial (preparation for racial bias; egalitarianism) and cultural socialization (racial pride; cultural behaviors) are associated with positive adjustment among African American youth (Cooper & Smalls, 2010; Neblett et al., 2006;  Smalls & Cooper, 2012). However, much of the existing literature has focused on maternal racial/cultural socialization or not distinguishing between mothers’ and fathers’ racial/cultural socialization practices. Among the few existing studies that have explored fathers’ racial socialization, McHale et al. (2006) found that maternal and paternal racial socialization were differentially related to adolescent outcomes. Additionally, more recent studies have focused specifically on African American fathers’ ethnic-racial socialization factors (Cooper et al., 2014; Cooper et a., 2015).  Still, we know very little about consistency and agreement between mothers and fathers ethnic socialization practices.

The StAR lab is currently examining ethnic-racial socialization practices (e.g., the ways in which parents communicate issues of race and ethnicity) in African American families. Specifically, this investigation has the following aims:

1) Examining agreement and consistency between fathers’ and mothers’ ethnic-racial socialization practices

2) Exploring family and contextual factors that are related to similarity/dissimilarity in fathers’ and mothers’ ethnic-racial socialization practices


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