See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Findings revealed, for example, stronger associations between parent—adolescent relationship qualities and youth adjustment for girls than for boys.
Adolescence, Adjustment, Mexican American, Parent—adolescent relationships Introduction Gender is an organizing feature of family responsibilities in Mexican culture and may have implications for the potentially different roles of mothers and fathers and the different experiences of girls versus boys.
Although characterizations of Mexican American families as rigidly traditional are inaccurate, there is some evidence that mothers assume greater care giving responsibilities than do fathers and some suggestion that parents are more protective of daughters as compared to sons Azmitia and Brown ; Cauce and Domenech-Rodriguez ; Valenzuela The lack of descriptive information about gender dynamics and family socialization processes in ethnic minority and immigrant families limits our understanding of both maternal and paternal parenting roles, however.
In this study, we investigate the role of gender in Mexican immigrant families living in the USA by examining how parent and adolescent gender and the gendered nature of the family context i. Youth born to Mexican immigrants represent the largest proportion of immigrant children living in the USA today. Mexican Americans comprise the majority of Latinos i.
Scholars who study minority families further note the need for ethnic-homogeneous designs to promote understanding of experiences within cultural groups e. This study answers the call for descriptive information about ethnic minority family processes in its examination of the nature and correlates of parent-adolescent relationship qualities in Mexican immigrant families. The present study draws on ecologically-oriented and gender socialization perspectives to address two goals: Information was gathered from mothers, fathers, and young adolescents during home interviews and a series of seven nightly phone calls.
Findings from this study will provide insights about family and developmental processes for scholars working with youth from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Specifically, our first hypothesis was that mothers, on average, would evidence greater involvement in parenting i. The gender intensification perspective Galambos et al.
According to this perspective, the increased pressure for young adolescents to conform to gender-typed role expectations may mean that the same-gender parent plays a more salient role than the opposite-gender parent does in socialization during this developmental period. Evidence of gender intensification in family socialization processes has been documented in European American families with young adolescents Crouter et al.
In families with opposite-gender sibling pairs, for example, adolescents increased the amount of time they spent with same-gender parents over the transition to adolescence Crouter et al. More generally, gender socialization perspectives suggest that parents may perceive socializing same-gender youth as their primary role, and same-gender pairs may share more common interests and activities Huston Drawing on these ideas, our second hypothesis was that mothers and fathers may have closer i.
Given gender differences in patterns of adolescent adjustment for youth from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , understanding the role of family gender dynamics is important. The degree of warmth and closeness in the parent-offspring relationship has been identified as a protective factor for youth experiencing a variety of stressors Masten et al. Warmth and support between parents and adolescents is a core feature of most theoretical perspectives on family socialization and is highlighted as a critical aspect of the parent—offspring relationship for positive youth social and emotional development Steinberg Studies focused specifically on Latino and Mexican American youth show that warm and supportive parenting is associated with adaptive youth functioning e.
Conflict with parents is a key process in adolescence, and may be particularly salient in immigrant families as parents and young adolescents are simultaneously negotiating changes in their relationships that may result from the developmental transition through adolescence and changes that may result from adapting to another culture and to differential acculturation within the family i.
Higher rates of conflict in immigrant as compared to native born families has been noted in some studies, and a number of scholars have attributed this conflict to intergenerational discrepancies in acculturation that is common in immigrant families, although the evidence is inconsistent see Birman , for a review.
More generally, conflict between parents and youth in Mexican American families has been associated with higher levels of conduct problems and more frequent symptoms of anxiety and depression e. Spending time in activities with parents may reflect strong orientations toward family, a characteristic that has often been attributed to Mexican American culture Sabogal et al. Time spent with parents may serve as a protective factor in that it reduces the opportunities youth have to spend time in unsupervised settings with peers, an important predictor of problem behavior Osgood et al.
Higher levels of parental supervision, monitoring, and knowledge have been associated with lower levels of youth externalizing behaviors and higher levels of school competence and performance in European American families Crouter et al. There is evidence of different patterns for boys and girls in the associations between monitoring and adjustment Jacobsen and Crockett that also depend on the larger family Crouter et al. In this study, we extend this research to Mexican immigrant families.
We also examined the role of adolescent gender in exploring the connections between parenting and youth adjustment. Little is known about the role of gender in the parent—offspring relationship or in the links between parent—adolescent relationship qualities and youth adjustment in Mexican American families. Work by McHale and colleagues , using data from the present sample, suggests the importance of gender dynamics in parent-offspring relationships in families of Mexican origin.
In the present study, we focus in particular on Mexican immigrant families and the role of gender in four broad dimensions of parenting i. We anticipated that one of two patterns may emerge. First, one possibility is that parents play a more central role for same-gender offspring. Summary In sum, there were three hypotheses in the proposed study. Related to our first goal of describing mother— and father—adolescent relationships, our first hypothesis was that mothers would report greater involvement in parenting i.
In regards to our second goal of examining parenting-adjustment linkages, our third hypothesis was that higher levels of parental warmth, lower levels of conflict, and higher levels of involvement would be linked to less involvement in risky behaviors, fewer depressive symptoms, and higher school performance.
Method Participants The data came from a study of family socialization and adolescent development in Mexican origin families Updegraff et al. The participating families were recruited through schools in and around a southwestern metropolitan area. Given the goal of the larger study, to examine family socialization processes in Mexican American families with adolescents, criteria for participation were as follows: Importantly, our sampling criteria and our focus on a local population mean that our sample was not designed to be representative of Mexican American families in general.
Instead, the overall study goals directed our attention to two-parent families so that we could examine the roles of mothers and fathers. To recruit families, letters and brochures describing the study in both English and Spanish were sent, and follow-up telephone calls were made by bilingual staff to determine eligibility and interest in participation. Immigrant families represented a range of education and income levels from poverty to upper class.
Parents had lived in the USA an average of Almost all parent interviews i. With respect to seventh graders, the sample included 81 girls and 81 boys who were an average of Most seventh graders were interviewed in English i.
Procedures Data were collected using two procedures. Interviews with individual family members were conducted simultaneously in separate locations in the home using laptop computers. Interviews averaged three hours with parents and two hours with adolescents. Information from individual family members was treated as confidential and was not shared with other family members.
During the 3 to 4 weeks following the home interviews, families were telephoned on seven evenings five weekday evenings and two weekend evenings and family members reported on their activities during the prior h period 5 p. Using a cued-recall strategy McHale et al. From these data, we calculated the time mothers and fathers spent in activities with adolescents.
Informed consent was obtained prior to the interview. Measures All measures were translated to Spanish for Mexican dialect in the local area and back translated to English by separate individuals Foster and Martinez All final translations were reviewed by a third native Mexican translator and discrepancies were resolved. This nine-item scale e. Each of eight items e. Parents and adolescents were asked a series of questions e. The questions were asked in different sequences over three phone calls so parents could not prepare for the questions ahead of time.
Specifically, during each phone call, adolescents reported on the durations in minutes and companions e. The number of minutes that adolescents reported participating in activities with their mothers was aggregated across the seven phone calls to measure mother-adolescent involvement. A parallel measure of father—adolescent involvement was created.
The item measure provides an index of cognitive, affective and behavioral depressive features e. Items were rated on a four-point scale ranging from Never to More than ten times e. Higher scores indicated more risky behavior. Adolescents reported on their current grades in four academic subjects English, Social Studies, Math, and Science and their grade point averages GPAs were computed.
Results The results focus on our two goals: Preliminary Analyses The goal of these preliminary analyses was to explore the ways in which father-only versus dual-earner families may differ to provide a background for interpreting the moderating role of family earner status. To test for differences between father-earner and dual-earner families in background characteristics i.
Family earner status and adolescent gender were the between subjects factors and parent was the within-subjects effect. For some background variables there were only family-level measures e. We focus on main effects and interactions involving family earner status. Means and standard deviations are shown in Table 1 for descriptive purposes.
Table 1 Means and SDs for mother— and father—adolescent relationship qualities as a function of adolescent gender and family earner status.