Ethnic socialization, identity, and values associated with U.S. Latino/a young adults' prosocial behaviors

Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2020 Jan;26(1):102-111. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000280. Epub 2019 Mar 28.


Objectives: Given the increasing saliency of Latino/a young adults in the United States, there is a need to consider developmental theories that may better capture the cultural mechanisms by which individuals from this specific ethnic group are socialized to engage in prosocial behaviors. The inclusion of cultural processes (including identity and values) might be particularly important in models that investigate family socialization processes and prosocial behaviors, because scholars have suggested that cultural values may be transmitted via parental practices and beliefs, including ethnic socialization practices.

Method: Participants included 381 U.S. Latino/a young adults (54.2% female; Mage = 21.99). Young adults completed measures of family ethnic socialization, ethnic identity, and endorsement of familism and respect values. They also completed a multidimensional measure of prosocial behavior, assessing different types and targets of helping.

Results: Structural equation modeling was conducted, and there was support for the importance of ethnic identity and cultural values as mechanisms through which ethnic socialization is associated with prosocial behaviors. Gender moderated these relations, such that family respect played a relatively more prominent mediating role for men, whereas familism played a mediating role for both men and women.

Conclusions: The findings emphasize the central role of familial ethnic socialization and cultural processes in fostering prosocial behaviors among U.S. Latino/as but reveal specific patterns of relations based on gender and on target of helping. These findings highlight the need for more research on gender-based and relation-based patterns of prosocial behaviors in U.S. Latinos/a young adults. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ethnic Groups / psychology
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Perception*
  • Social Values / ethnology*
  • Socialization*
  • United States
  • Young Adult