The Impact of African American Parents’ Racial Discrimination Experiences and Perceived Neighborhood Cohesion on their Racial Socialization Practices

Farzana T. Saleem, Devin English, Danielle R. Busby, Sharon F. Lambert, Aubrey Harrison, Michelle L. Stock, Frederick X. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Parental racial socialization is a parenting tool used to prepare African American adolescents for managing racial stressors. While it is known that parents’ racial discrimination experiences affect the racial socialization messages they provide, little is known about the influence of factors that promote supportive and communal parenting, such as perceived neighborhood cohesion. In cohesive neighborhoods, neighbors may help parents address racial discrimination by monitoring youth and conveying racial socialization messages; additionally, the effect of neighborhood cohesion on parents’ racial socialization may differ for boys and girls because parents socialize adolescents about race differently based on expected encounters with racial discrimination. Therefore, the current study examines how parents’ perception of neighborhood cohesion and adolescents’ gender moderate associations between parents’ racial discrimination experiences and the racial socialization messages they deliver to their adolescents. Participants were a community sample of 608 African American adolescents (54 % girls; mean age = 15.5) and their primary caregivers (86 % biological mothers; mean age = 42.0). Structural equation modeling indicated that parental racial discrimination was associated with more promotion of mistrust messages for boys and girls in communities with low neighborhood cohesion. In addition, parental racial discrimination was associated with more cultural socialization messages about racial pride and history for boys in neighborhoods with low neighborhood cohesion. The findings suggest that parents’ racial socialization messages are influenced by their own racial discrimination experiences and the cohesiveness of the neighborhood; furthermore, the content of parental messages delivered varies based on adolescents’ gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1338-1349
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Parenting practices
  • Racial discrimination
  • Racial socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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