Discrimination Concerns and Expectations as Explanations for Gendered Socialization in African American Families


  • We are thankful to Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Emily Durbin for their feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Fatima Varner, Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context, University of Michigan School of Education, 610 E. University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Electronic mail may be sent to fvarner@umich.edu.


Discrimination concerns and parental expectations were examined as mediators of the relations between gender and parenting practices among 796 African American mothers of 11- to 14-year-olds from the Maryland Adolescent Development in Context Study. Mothers of sons had more concerns about racial discrimination impacting their adolescents' future, whereas mothers of daughters had more gender discrimination concerns. Racial discrimination concerns, but not gender discrimination concerns, were related to lower maternal academic and behavioral expectations. Maternal expectations were related to mothers' responsiveness, rule enforcement, monitoring, and parent–adolescent conflict. The relations between gender and parenting practices were partially explained through mothers' racial discrimination concerns and expectations. These findings demonstrate the importance of contextual factors on African American family processes.