Parental ethnic-racial socialization practices and children of color's psychosocial and behavioral adjustment: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Am Psychol. 2020 Jan;75(1):1-22. doi: 10.1037/amp0000464. Epub 2019 May 6.


Despite increasing empirical research documenting the association between parental ethnic-racial socialization and youth of color's psychosocial well-being, evidence on the extent to which ethnic-racial socialization practices are linked to youth outcomes and potential variation in these relations remains equivocal. In the current study, a meta-analysis of 102 studies with 803 effect sizes and 27,221 participants reveals that overall ethnic-racial socialization was positively, albeit modestly, associated with self-perceptions, interpersonal relationship quality, and internalizing behavior. Ethnic-racial socialization's overall association with externalizing behavior was nonsignificant. Moreover, ethnic-racial socialization's connection to psychosocial outcomes varied by the subtype that parents used, the developmental stage and race/ethnicity of the target child, and the reporter of ethnic-racial socialization. In particular, cultural socialization was positively associated with self-perceptions and interpersonal relationship quality and negatively associated with externalizing behaviors. In addition, ethnic-racial socialization's positive association with self-perceptions was strongest in early adolescence and among African American youth. These findings underscore the complexity of parental ethnic-racial socialization practices and the need for a nuanced perspective on it. Implications for parenting practices and future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Racism / psychology
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Identification*
  • Socialization*