Parenting, Family Processes, Relationships, and Parental Support in Multiracial and Multiethnic Families: An Exploratory Study of Youth Perceptions

AuthorElma I. Lorenzo‐Blanco,Cristina B. Bares,Jorge Delva
Date01 February 2013
Published date01 February 2013
ELMA I. LORENZO-BLANCO University of Michigan
CRISTINA B. BARES Virginia Commonwealth University
JORGE DELVA University of Michigan∗∗
Parenting, Family Processes, Relationships,
and Parental Support in Multiracial and Multiethnic
Families: An Exploratory Study of Youth
Mixed-race or multiethnic youth are at risk
for mental and physical health problems.
We used data from the National Longitudi-
nal Study of Youth 1997 to compare family
characteristics of adolescents of a mixed-race
or multiethnic background with those of a
monoracial or monoethnic background. Mixed-
race or multiethnic youth reported feeling less
supported by parents and reported less
satisfactory parent-adolescent relationships.
Mixed-race/multiethnic youth were more like
monoracial White youth in terms of being inde-
pendent but were more like racial or ethnic
minorities (African Americans, Hispanics) in
regard to family activities. Reasons for these
f‌indings are explored. We discuss the need for
future research on the experiences of mixed-
race/multiethnic youth.
Departments of Psychology and Women’s Studies,
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1043
School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth Univer-
sity, Richmond, VA 23284.
∗∗School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor, MI 48109.
Key Words: adolescents, family, multiethnic, multiracial,
parenting, support.
A growing number of people in the United
States are born into interracial, multiethnic, or
mixed-race families. From 2000 to 2009, the
number of self-identif‌ied mixed-race individuals
increased by 32% (from 6,826,222 to 9,009,073;
U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). This mixed-race,
multiethnic population appears to be young,
as over 50% reported being under the age
of 24 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). As the
number of mixed-race or multiethnic (MR/ME)
children in the United States continues to
grow, it is important to understand their
development. Furthermore, nascent research
with MR/ME youth indicates that these youth
are at higher risk for mental, physical, and
behavior problems compared to monoracial
and monoethnic youth (e.g., Bolland et al.,
2007; Udry, Li, & Hendrickson-Smith, 2003).
Research with these youth has not examined the
relationships these youth have with their parents
and families, factors that may be associated
with their apparently higher risk. Building
on prior work (Bolland et al., 2007; Udry
et al., 2003), we examined perceived parenting
and family-related variables associated with
youth well-being. Specif‌ically, the present
study examined how parenting (e.g., parental
control, monitoring, and supportiveness) and
family experience (e.g., eating dinner as a
Family Relations 62 (February 2013): 125 –139 125

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