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Do Socialization Goals Explain Differences in Parental Control Between Black and White Parents?


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African American and White parents differ in their use of parental control strategies. This study examined the degree to which these differences are related to socialization goals or socioeconomic factors. Using a sample of 320 parents, the authors found that socialization goals for child independence, cultural connection and respect for elders (i.e., cultural-filial piety), and financial success explained most of the ethnic differences in parental strictness. Ethnic differences in autonomy granting were more related to economic factors. It was concluded that African American parents scoring higher on measures of strictness than White parents is related to having different socialization goals and cultural beliefs about child obedience and respect for elders. However, African American parents seem to provide less autonomy than White parents, perhaps due to sociocontextual factors such as greater neighborhood dangers.