The Importance of Family, Race, and Gender for Multiracial Adolescent Well-being


Department of Sociology, UCLA, 264 Haines Hall, 375 Portola Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1551 (


Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), this study investigates patterns of well-being among multiracial adolescents. Specifically, this article addresses three questions. First, using various categorizations for multiracial background, are there measurable differences in emotional and social well-being among White, minority, and multiracial adolescents? Second, do multiracial adolescents with a White mother tend to fare differently than those with a minority mother? Third, does variation in family-based social capital—including parental involvement, parent-child relationship quality, and family structure—contribute to observed well-being differences among multiracial and monoracial adolescents? Results suggest that multiracial adolescents experience more negative social and emotional well-being outcomes when their mother is a minority. This finding persists even when controlling for sources of family-based social capital.