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Family influences on the health risk behaviours and well-being of African American adolescents

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Johanna M Lukate.

Tea and coffee are served before this seminar for attendees from 12.30pm onwards in the Nick Macintosh Seminar Room on the 2nd floor.

An extensive review of parenting behaviors by Kumpfer (2003) identified parental support and success at monitoring youth’s activities as two behaviors necessary for developing resiliency and competence in adolescents. By far, most parental support research has focused on mothers; however, emerging research highlights the significance of the father’s role in adolescent development. Nevertheless, maternal support continues to be the primary focus of most research. Although findings from previous studies are useful, they often do not consider how race-related stressors may interact with parenting behaviors to influence the well-being of ethnically diverse Black adolescents. Mounting evidence suggests that parenting within African American families can be affected by both cultural and socioeconomic variations in family environments associated with the consequences of economic hardship and racial discrimination. Studies have found, for example, that positive racial identity development is an important socialization goal within most African American families. Some scholars suggest this is reflective of the cultural value of a collective orientation within African American families that results from the need to provide emotional support in an attempt to protect their children from the harsh realities of racial rejection. Few studies have tested this proposition with ethnically diverse Black adolescents. My presentation will address this limitation by examining the moderating influences of maternal support and racial identity attitudes on the relation between perceived discrimination and psychological well-being among African American and Caribbean Black adolescents from the United States. I will also discuss findings from a culturally-based intervention that incorporates race-related socialization. The intervention is designed to prevent youth risky behaviors by strengthening the parenting skills of nonresident African American fathers as a key strategy for protecting preadolescent boys. Because parenting occurs within the wider society, it will be critical to discuss broader ecological issues with implications for facilitating or hindering effective parenting behaviors.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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