Racial Discrimination Experiences and African American Youth Adjustment: The Role of Parenting Profiles Based on Racial Socialization and Involved-Vigilant Parenting

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Objectives: The purpose of this study was to test whether parenting profiles based on racial socialization and involved-vigilant parenting would compensate for or moderate associations between racial discrimination experiences and academic outcomes and psychological well-being among African American adolescents. Method: Participants were 1,363 African American adolescents (Mage = 14.19; 52.3% female) from 3 Midwestern suburban school districts. Latent profile analysis was used to examine whether there were distinct combinations of parenting. The relationships among racial discrimination experiences, parenting profiles, and adjustment were examined using structural equation modeling (SEM). Results: Three distinct parenting profiles were found: moderate positive (n = 767; moderately high involved-vigilant parenting and racial barrier, racial pride, behavioral, and egalitarian messages, and low negative messages), unengaged (n = 351; low racial socialization messages and moderately low involved-vigilant parenting), and high negative parenting (n = 242; high negative messages, moderate other racial socialization messages, and moderately low involved-vigilant parenting). Racial discrimination experiences were negatively associated with youth adjustment. Moderate positive parenting was related to the best academic outcomes and unengaged parenting was associated with more positive academic outcomes than high negative parenting. Moderate positive parenting was associated with better psychological well-being than unengaged or high negative parenting although the benefits were greater for adolescents with fewer racial discrimination experiences. Conclusions: Distinct patterns of racial socialization messages and involved-vigilant parenting contribute to differences in African American youth adjustment.

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