Longitudinal Relations Among Mexican-Origin Mothers’ Cultural Characteristics, Cultural Socialization, and 5-Year-Old Children’s Ethnic–Racial Identification

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Abstract

The current longitudinal study examined the intergenerational transmission of ethnic–racial identity/identification and cultural orientation among Mexican-origin adolescent young mothers and their children (N = 161 dyads). Findings indicated that mothers’ ethnic–racial identity and their cultural involvement were significantly associated with children’s ethnic–racial identification via mothers’ cultural socialization; however, associations varied significantly by children’s gender and skin tone. For example, mothers’ ethnic–racial centrality was positively associated with cultural socialization efforts among mothers with sons (regardless of skin tone); but with daughters, a positive association only emerged among those with lighter skin tones. Associations between cultural socialization and children’s ethnic–racial identification also varied by children’s gender and skin tone. For example, the relation between mothers’ cultural socialization and children’s self-labeling as Mexican was positive for girls regardless of skin tone, and for boys with lighter skin tones, but was not significant for boys with darker skin tones. Findings highlight the critical role of children’s own characteristics, mothers’ ethnic–racial identity and adaptive cultural characteristics, and mothers’ cultural socialization efforts in the formation of young Mexican-origin children’s ethnic–racial identification.

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