Social and Emotional Adjustment and Family Relations in Ethnic Minority Families

Social and Emotional Adjustment and Family Relations in Ethnic Minority Families

Social and Emotional Adjustment and Family Relations in Ethnic Minority Families

Social and Emotional Adjustment and Family Relations in Ethnic Minority Families

Synopsis

This collection of essays addresses issues related to the intersection of family relationships and several contexts for the social and emotional development of ethnic minority adolescents. The papers are organized in sections under subtitles which reflect three contextual frames through which these issues may be examined. The first section focuses on the relationship between economic factors and resources on the one hand and family relations as environments for development on the other. The next part focuses on family and peer networks and relations as contexts for the emotional and social development of adolescents. The last section takes neighborhood and school as contexts for and determinants of social and emotional adjustment in adolescence. Like much of the extant work and current thought concerning development in ethnic minority children and adolescents, the authors have highlighted the more stressful and negative aspects of these several contexts. There are a few explicit and several implicit references made to supportive and more positive contexts and manifestations of relationships which frame the developmental experiences of ethnic minority adolescents. These serve as a reminder that many ethnic minority adolescents do overcome the odds against success and grow into healthy and wholesome adults. However, in large measure, this book is a contribution to our understanding of the problematic circumstances under which a significant segment of the population exists, reminding us that life for ethnic minority adolescents is difficult. The fact that some of these young people manage to overcome the negative and stressful aspects of their experiences and defy the implicit prediction of failure to thrive is truly remarkable.

Excerpt

Ethnic minority adolescents will make up more than 30% of the adolescent population in the United States by the end of this century. This pattern of growth is particularly prevalent in urban communities with high concentrations of families in economically disadvantaged circumstances, and where children and youth are faced with some of the most challenging social problems associated with the modern morbidities of our time. Nevertheless, there has been a pervasive lack of research on the development and learning of children and families from ethnic minority backgrounds. Furthermore, studies of minority children and families have largely focused on deficiencies and causes of maladjustment. Research on normative development of minority children is glaringly lacking, especially with regard to adolescent development.

There is a pressing need to develop a research base for preventive and intervention-oriented efforts that foster the resilience and educational success of adolescents from minority backgrounds who, for a variety of reasons, live in circumstances that place them at risk developmentally and educationally. It was within the context of attempting to take stock of what is known from research on development and adjustment of ethnic minority adolescents in communities with high concentrations of economically disadvantaged families that the National Center on Education in the Inner Cities hosted an invitational conference at the Temple University Center for Research in Human Development and Education.

The overall goal of the conference was to chart research and theoretical advances and to identify research priorities to further our understanding of the normative functioning of adolescents from varied ethnic minority backgrounds in multiple contexts and from multidisciplinary perspectives. The invited participants represented a broad range of disciplines and professional fields including developmental psychologists, economists . . .

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