The relation between positive parenting, family cohesion, and child social competence was examined among Latino families (predominantly from Mexico) who were recent immigrants to the United States. A mixed method study was conducted, including both pre- and post-test self-reported surveys (9-month interval) and qualitative data from focus groups. A total of 282 parents and 282 children (ages 9-12) participated in the survey study. Results at post-test follow-up indicated that family cohesion predicted improvements in child social problem-solving skills and social self-efficacy, and positive parenting predicted improvements in child social self-efficacy. A total of 12 mothers participated in the focus group study that was designed to explore barriers to positive parenting and family cohesion in this population. Results from focus groups revealed four major themes impacting parenting and family cohesion: (a) acculturation differences between parents and children and the resulting power imbalance; (b) difficulty getting involved in their child's education; (c) loss of extended family; and (d) discrimination against immigrants and legal status. The implications for family support programs for immigrant Latino families and their children are discussed.
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