Academic journal article Family Relations

Measuring Cultural Socialization Attitudes and Behaviors of Mexican-Origin Mothers with Young Children: A Longitudinal Investigation

Academic journal article Family Relations

Measuring Cultural Socialization Attitudes and Behaviors of Mexican-Origin Mothers with Young Children: A Longitudinal Investigation

Article excerpt

Socialization is a critical part of human development, and developmental theories (e.g., Bronfenbrenner, 1994; Erikson, 1968) have emphasized that families are essential in the process of socializing children. Among ethnic and racial minority families, parents engage in numerous behaviors focused specifically on socializing youth regarding their ethnic-racial heritage that expose them to the customs and history of their group; this process has been referred to as cultural socialization (Hughes et al., 2006). Parents' socialization efforts regarding culture are important because they have been demonstrated to play a key role in youths' ethnic-racial identity development and positive adjustment (Hughes et al., 2008; Neblett, Rivas-Drake, & Umaña-Taylor, 2012; Umaña-Taylor, Alfaro, Bámaca, & Guimond, 2009). In the present study, we describe two new measures designed to assess caregivers' cultural socialization behaviors and caregivers' attitudes regarding the importance of cultural socialization (i.e., cultural socialization attitudes) in families with young children. In addition to presenting the general psychometric properties of these measures, we also test the factorial equivalence of items across English- and Spanish-language versions of each measure and test each measure's longitudinal measurement invariance over a one-year period.

Theoretical Background

Ecological theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1994) posits that human development occurs via proximal processes, which include interactions and engagement with others in one's immediate and more distal contexts. A central aspect of human development that is important for positive adjustment is the development of an identity (Erikson, 1968). An important developmental task among ethnic-racial minority youth, in particular, is the development of an ethnic-racial identity-that is, beliefs and attitudes regarding one's ethnic-racial group membership (see Umaña-Taylor et al., 2014, for a review). For this aspect of development, the engagement in proximal processes posited by Bronfenbrenner (1994) can be best understood in terms of the influence of the family context. In particular, cultural socialization within families facilitates identity formation among ethnic-racial minority adolescents (Else-Quest & Morse, 2015; Hughes, Hagelskamp, Way, & Foust, 2009; Umaña-Taylor, Yazedjian, & Bámaca-Gómez, 2004). Further, as young as early childhood, children become aware of ethnicity and race, and experiences in early childhood prime and expose children for developing an ethnic-racial identity during adolescence (Umaña-Taylor et al., 2014). Thus, understanding cultural socialization within ethnic-racial minority families with young children can provide important insight into a process that promotes normative development and adjustment in childhood and beyond.

Cultural Socialization Behaviors

Caregivers' cultural socialization behaviors, which involve exposing children to their culture, may include talking to children about historical figures who share their ethnic-racial background, celebrating cultural holidays, or exposing children to culturally relevant books and music (Hughes et al., 2006). Cultural socialization, relative to other types of socialization (e.g., preparing children for bias and discrimination they may face due to their ethnic-racial group membership), is particularly prevalent among families with adolescents (Hughes et al., 2008).

Although numerous studies have examined parents' cultural socialization behaviors among families with adolescents (e.g., Hughes et al., 2009; Supple, Ghazarian, Frabutt, Plunkett, & Sands, 2006; Umaña-Taylor, Zeiders, & Updegraff, 2013), much less work has examined parents' cultural socialization behaviors among families with young children. In one exception, Hughes (2003) used a two-factor measure to assess racial socialization among parents with children age 6-17 years that consisted of five cultural socialization items (e. …

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