Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

The Relationship between Cultural Model, Socialization Goals and Parental Ethnotheories: A Mixed Method Study

Academic journal article Cognitie, Creier, Comportament

The Relationship between Cultural Model, Socialization Goals and Parental Ethnotheories: A Mixed Method Study

Article excerpt


Human development is culturally situated, thus children from different cultures have different developmental trajectories (Dassen & Mishra, 2000; LeVine, 2002). Such differences are associated with culture-specific factors, out of which parenting practices play a critical role (Keller, Yovsi, Borke, Kartner, Jensen, & Papaligoura, 2004; Salomo & Liszkowski, 2013). On their turn, parenting practices may be guided by parental beliefs in a manner congruent with prevalent cultural models (Keller, Lamm, Abels, Yovsi, Borke, et al., 2006). So, in order to find out how culture influences development, it is essential to study the impact of culture on parental behaviors and representations.

Several approaches have addressed the impact of culture on child development. Generally, they agree in defining culture as a community with a shared system of practices, activities, meanings and artifacts, in virtue of a common socio-demographic profile (Keller, 2013; Keller, Borke, Chaudhary, Lamm, & Kleis, 2010; Greenfield, 2009).

The "developmental niche" framework (Super & Harkness, 1986; 1999) considers the culturally influenced environment of the child, as composed of three interactive systems: (a) the physical and social settings, including daily routines carried out in particular places with particular others; (b) caregiving customs and practices, influencing the kinds of competencies children may acquire; (c) the psychology of the caretakers, in particular the parental ethnotheories, defined as belief systems shared by the parents from a cultural group, about the nature of children, their development, parenting practices and family (Harkness & Super, 1996; Harkness, Super, Bermudez, Moscardino, et al., 2010). Harkness and Super (2005) have proposed that parental ethnotheories play a leading role in shaping not only child development per se, but also the other two components of the "developmental niche".

A similar view is expressed by the ecocultural model of development (Keller & Kartner, 2013). This model views human development as being embedded in a network comprised of the ecosocial context, parental cultural models with associated socialization strategies, and the child's developmental trajectory (Whiting & Whiting, 1975). This model specifies that culture influences child's development through its influence on three key variables: parental cultural models, ethnotheories and socialization goals.

Cultural models refer to a set of beliefs shared within a community. According to Kagitcibasi (1996), cultural models can be considered along two orthogonal dimensions: agency and interpersonal distance. While interpersonal distance refers to the degree to which the self is distanced from the others, and varies from separateness to relatedness, agency refers to the degree of autonomous functioning, varying from autonomy to heteronomy. The cultural model of independence is a combination of separateness and autonomy, the model of interdependence is a combination of relatedness and heteronomy and that of autonomous-relatedness is a combination between relatedness and autonomy (Kagitcibasi, 2005).

Parents' socialization goals are informed and shaped by their cultural model (Huijbregts, Tavecchio, Leseman, & Hoffennaar, 2009; Liebal, Reddy, Jonnalagadda, & Chintalapuri, 2011; Keller et al., 2006). In this respect, mothers with interdependent cultural models have more relational socialization goals and mothers with independent cultural models have more autonomous socialization goals (Keller et al., 2006). Competencies such as loyalty, reciprocity, and solidarity represent important examples of relational socialization goals that focus on the harmonious integration of the child into the family, which, in turn is seen as the extension of the self. In contrast, competencies such as self-confidence, self- reliance, and the development of personal qualities are important autonomous socialization goals that emphasize the individual over the group. …

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