Presentation on theme: "Ethnic Identity among Mexican American Adolescents: The Role of Maternal Cultural Values and Parenting Practices 1 Miriam M. Martinez, 1 Gustavo Carlo,"— Presentation transcript:
Ethnic Identity among Mexican American Adolescents: The Role of Maternal Cultural Values and Parenting Practices 1 Miriam M. Martinez, 1 Gustavo Carlo, & 2 George P. Knight 1 University of Nebraska-Lincoln; 2 Arizona State University INTRODUCTION Scholars have suggested that feeling attached to one’s ethnic group can foster positive behavioral outcomes among Mexican American youth (Knight, et al., 1995; Phinney, 1993). For instance, several studies have found that Mexican Americans who feel more attached to their ethnic group engage in more prosocial (i.e. actions intended to benefit others) and cooperative behaviors than their less attached counterparts (Carlo & de Guzman, 2009). Scholars contend that ethnic identity can stem from the socialization of cultural values and exposure to parenting practices that promote such identity (Knight et al., 1993). However, research on the socialization of ethnic identity in adolescents is limited. Based on prior theory, mothers who endorse traditional cultural values will be expected to engage in parenting practices that reinforce those values and youth who are exposed to those practices will be more likely to internalize those traditional cultural values. Therefore, youth ethnic attachment will be expected to result from the transmission of parental cultural values via the adolescents’ perceptions of parenting practices. HYPOTHESES We predicted that maternal ethnic cultural values will be associated with adolescents’ ethnic group attachment via parenting practices that promote familism, adolescents’ perception of those practices and their endorsement of cultural values. METHOD Participants were 204 adolescent Mexican Americans (M age = 10.91; 51% girls) and their mothers (M age = 35.87). Most mothers had either completed high school (41.3%) or some college (18.3%). Adolescents’ scores on scales of immersion in dominant society and immersion in ethnic society were similar revealing that the sample was predominantly bicultural. Procedure. The interview was conducted at home and took approximately two hours to complete. Each family was compensated $25. Measures Traditional Cultural Values were assessed using the familism, respect, and religiosity scales from the Mexican American Cultural Values Scale (Knight et al., 2009). Adolescents and their mothers responded to 31 items, such as “A person should always think about their family when making an important decision” on a 5-point scale, anchored by 1 (not at all) to 5 (completely) (Adolescents’ α=.79; Mothers’ α=.83). The Prosocial Parenting Practices Measures(Carlo et al., 2007) was used to assess Familism Parenting. Adolescents and their mothers responded to 9 items, such as “Your mother tells you about expected chores and responsibilities around the house” on a 5-point scale, anchored by 1 (does not describe your mother (child) at all) and 5 (describes your mother (child) very well) (Adolescents’ α=.86, Mothers’ α=.81). The Affirmation & Belonging subscale of the Multi-group Ethnic Identity Measure includes 7 items, such as “I have a clear sense of my ethnic background and what it means for me.” Adolescents responded to these item on a 4-point scale, anchored by 1 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly disagree) (α=.84). RESULTS Preliminary Analyses: Descriptives and bivariate correlations are shown in Table 1. Mothers and their children scored relatively high in their reports of cultural values and perceptions of familism parenting practices. In general, adolescents were moderately attached to their ethnic group. Main Analyses: To determine the overall model fit, both the Comparative Fit Index with values greater than.95 indicated reasonable model fit, and the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation with values with less than.06 indicated reasonable fit. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to examine the proposed path model. The proposed model fit the data well [χ² (6) = 10.16, p=.02, χ²/df = 1.69, CFI =.97, RMSEA=.06, SRMR=.04]. As expected, each variable predicted subsequent variables; specifically, mothers’ cultural values were positively associated with their perceptions of familism parenting (β=.59, p<.001); mothers’ familism parenting was positively associated with adolescents’ perceptions of their mothers' familism parenting (β=.16, p<.05); adolescents’ perceptions of familism parenting were positively associated with their reports of cultural values (β=.44, p<.001); and adolescents’ cultural values were positively associated with their attachment to their ethnic group (β=.42, p<.001). Multiple group SEM analyses revealed that the associations proposed in the model were not moderated by gender [Δχ² (4) = 7.40, p>.05)]. This research was supported by an NSF grant (BCS-0132409) awarded to Gustavo Carlo and George P. Knight. We would like to thank the Family C.A.R.E. team for their assistance. Table 1. Descriptive Statistics and Correlations Variables1234 5 1. Mothers’ Report of Cultural Values 2. Mothers’ Report of Familism Parenting.43** 3. Youth Report of Familism Parenting.09.13 4. Youth Report of Cultural Values.02.04.45** 5. Youth Report of Ethnic Attachment -.04.04.36**.39** Descriptives Mean4.173.84.04.2 3.4 SD.126.96.36.199.41 **p<.01 DISCUSSION In order to understand the origins of ethnic identity in Mexican American youth it is necessary to identify factors involved in its development. As expected, maternal cultural values were indirectly associated with adolescents’ attachment to their ethnic group through parenting practices and youth endorsements of cultural values. These findings suggest that parenting practices designed to foster familism may be particularly beneficial in fostering adolescents’ positive feelings towards traditional cultural values. Parents who endorse traditional cultural values are more likely to engage in parenting practices that promote those cultural values. However, the adolescents’ perceptions of mothers’ familism parenting practices is important in promoting youth endorsements of those traditional cultural values. Thus, youth ethnic attachment is the culmination of a socialization process that involves the mothers’ cultural values, mothers’ parenting practices, adolescents’ perception of parenting practices, and the adolescents’ endorsement of cultural values. These results have a number of theoretical and practical implications. First, the transmission of cultural values occurs through culturally related parenting practices. Second, the adolescents’ attachment to their ethnic group result from their observations of parental parenting practices. And third, parenting practices that encourage youth to engage in prosocial behaviors towards relatives foster traditional cultural values and ethnic group attachment. Taken together, efforts to promote ethnic pride in Mexican American youth likely requires parental encouragement of prosocial behaviors towards family members.