The Transmission of Ethnic Identity and Parenting Beliefs Between Two Generations of Ukrainian-American Immigrant Families

Date of Award

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Matthew Mulvaney


Eastern European, Ethnic Identity, Immigrants, Parenting, Ukrainian, Ukrainian-American

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this research was to examine the process of transmission of ethnic identity and parenting values in two generations of parent-child dyads in the Ukrainian community living in the United States. This was done by examining the structure of ethnic identity from a Ukrainian-American perspective in terms of language fluency, ritualistic expression and religiosity and then by examining the processes by which this identity is formed in the context of the family. In addition, the complementary role of ethnic community and parenting approaches was examined. 414 participants (207 dyads) were recruited from the Ukrainian-Cultural Centers and CYM: Ukrainian-American Youth Association throughout Upstate New York. Findings revealed the transmission of religiosity, Ukrainian and American ethnic from parent to offspring, as well as transmission of parenting styles. Ukrainian ethnic identity positively predicted authoritarian beliefs and negatively predicted permissive beliefs for parents and offspring. Ethnic identity did not predict authoritative beliefs for parents or offspring. Psychological sense of community moderated the transmission of ethnic identity from parent to offspring such that adult offspring were most impacted by community involvement when their parents’ ethnic identity was low. The results of this research demonstrate the importance of mutual and complementary systems in determining the processes by which ethnic identity is maintained in an acculturating community.


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