Racial and ethnic socialization in African-American families: Scale development and validation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Norma Burgess


Ethnic, Socialization, African-American, Families, Scale development, Parenting

Subject Categories

Family, Life Course, and Society | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Racial and ethnic socialization strategies are integral to African American parenting. These socialization practices help prepare African American children for success in a discriminatory societal context, while instilling a sense of ethnic and racial pride. However, the existing literature lacks conceptual clarity and sound measurement tools for these constructs. The purpose of this study was to investigate new conceptualizations and measurement scales to assess racial and ethnic socialization. It is the first study to examine racial and ethnic socialization as distinct constructs using Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). The construct validity (convergent and discriminant) and the functional validity of a newly developed questionnaire were assessed. The role of racial and ethnic socialization in predicting adolescent psychological and social functioning beyond that of parental acceptance, monitoring, and discipline were also examined. Data were obtained from 218 African American adolescents at an ethnically and economically diverse public school in the northeastern United States. The sub-scales for each construct demonstrated good convergent validity with no indication of cross-factor loadings. The latent constructs of racial and ethnic socialization indicated moderate discriminate validity. Additionally, the role of racial and ethnic socialization in predicting adolescent outcomes was only significant for female parent racial socialization. Demonstration of high convergent, moderate discriminant validity, and high reliability reflects the utility of this instrument to assess racial and ethnic socialization in African American families.


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