Friends’ Cultural Orientation as a Mediator Between Familial Ethnic Socialization and Ethnic Identity Among Mexican-Origin Adolescent Girls

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Abstract

Objectives: Research has indicated that ethnic identity protects ethnic minority youth on various indicators of adjustment, but there is a dearth of research pertaining to contextual influences on ethnic identity. Our study investigated how familial ethnic socialization and best friend’s orientation toward Mexican culture influenced ethnic identity among Mexican-origin girls. Method: Using a 3-wave longitudinal sample of 175 Mexican-origin adolescent girls (Mage = 13.75), the current study examined best friend’s Mexican cultural orientation as a mediator between familial ethnic socialization and ethnic identity with structural equation modeling. Multigroup analyses were conducted to examine potential age and generational status differences within the model. Results: Analyses revealed that familial ethnic socialization promoted ethnic identity exploration and resolution 3.5 years later and that this effect was mediated by best friend’s Mexican cultural orientation. No significant differences were found across age or generational status groups. Conclusions: Our study highlights the contribution of peer context to ethnic identity and its role in the process by which familial ethnic socialization influences ethnic identity during adolescence.

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