The Role of Parents' Ethnic-Racial Socialization Practices in the Discrimination-Depression Link among Mexican-Origin Adolescents

J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. May-Jun 2020;49(3):391-404. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2018.1547969. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


The present study investigated the moderating role of parents' ethnic-racial socialization practices (T1) in the link between adolescents' discrimination experiences (T1-T3) and adolescent anxiety and depression, respectively (T1-T3). Using a 3-wave longitudinal design with multiple informants (adolescent, mother, father) reporting on parents' ethnic-racial socialization practices, the data analytic sample comprised a total of 251 (T1) Mexican-origin families from the midwestern United States. Mother and father reports of their own ethnic-racial socialization practices (i.e., cultural socialization, preparation for bias, promotion of mistrust) were entered simultaneously into multilevel moderation models. Results from these multilevel moderation analyses indicated that fathers' promotion of mistrust was a significant moderator in the adolescent discrimination-depression link over time. Specifically, fathers' promotion of mistrust exacerbated the youth discrimination-depression association. Moreover, the difference between the moderating effects of fathers' versus mothers' promotion of mistrust on the youth discrimination-depression association was significant. Cultural socialization and preparation for bias did not significantly moderate the adolescent association between discrimination and mental health, regardless of parent gender (fathers or mothers) or mental health outcome (anxiety or depression). The results are discussed in light of a socioecological framework, with special emphasis on the importance of including (and differentiating between) both fathers and mothers in the investigation of ethnic-racial socialization and implications for future theory building, research, and clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Racial Groups
  • Socialization*