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Racial Socialization in Transracial Adoptive Families: Does It Help Adolescents Deal With Discrimination Stress?


Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20743 (


Racial socialization protects minority adolescents from stress associated with racial discrimination. The process of racial socialization, however, may be challenging in transracial adoptive families. White parents may struggle with preparing their children for discrimination and fostering the development of racial pride. Thus, transracially adopted youth may be particularly vulnerable to stress resulting from discrimination. This study examines the extent to which racial socialization by White adoptive parents moderates the link between discrimination and stress for their minority adolescents. A study of 59 parent-child dyads indicated that while not having an independent effect, racial socialization did moderate the link between experiences of discrimination and perceived stressfulness. For those adolescents experiencing high levels of discrimination, racial socialization did serve a protective function.