Racial socialization centers on preparing children for the challenges of discrimination and consequent health, social, and economic disparities. Racial socialization is increasingly recognized as an important familial process for ethnic minority families, yet studies with Asian Americans are limited. Further, majority of studies have examined either parent- or youth-report of racial socialization, with few simultaneously examining the effects of both youth- and parent-report. To address this gap, this study examined the predictive effects of racial socialization for Korean American (KA) and Filipino American (FA) youth outcomes, using parent and adolescent-report of racial socialization. Specifically, we examined (1) the correspondence between parent and youth racial socialization, (2) the predictive effects of youth versus parent-report racial socialization on youth mental health outcomes, and (3) the mediating effects of perceived discrimination on racial socialization and youth mental health outcomes.
This study used data from wave 1 and 3 of the Midwest Longitudinal Study of Asian American Families which includes parent-child dyads of 393 FA and 410 KA families in wave 1 and 308 FA and 340 KA families in wave 3. Multi-group path analysis was employed. Racial socialization constructs, i.e., promotion of mistrust and preparation for bias, are from wave 1 and perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms are from wave 3. Analysis accounted for age, socioeconomic status, gender, and nativity. All results are reported with standardized estimate.
As expected, respective perception by parent and child on preparation for bias (r=.23 for FA and r=.31 for KA) and promotion of mistrust (r=.22 for FA and r=.19 for KA) was statistically significantly but modestly corresponded. Perception by parent’s (r=.33 for FA and r=.25 for KA) and children’s (r=.30 for FA and r=.35 for KA) within racial socialization constructs were also correlated to each other significantly at 0.001 level. Model fit indices showed the final explanatory model had a good fit (χ240= 53.64., p= .07; CFI= .931; TLI=.941; RMSEA=.032). In FA model, youth-reported promotion of mistrust predicted higher perceived discrimination (β=.15, p<.01) at wave 3 and perceived discrimination was correlated with depressive symptoms (β=.27, p<.001). In KA model, youth-reported promotion of mistrust (β=.12, p<.05) has directly predicted higher depressive symptom at wave 3. Also, in KA model, preparation for bias (β=.15, p<.05) foresaw higher perceived discrimination at 3 and perceived discrimination (β=.42, p<.001) was correlated to depressive symptoms.
Conclusion and Implications:
Findings highlight that different types of racial socialization have varying impact on youth mental health and that the mechanisms may differ by ethnicity. For example, promotion of mistrust directly (among KA) and indirectly (FA) predicted more mental distress. Preparation for bias predicted mental distress via increased perception of racial discrimination but only among KA. This points to the differential pathways in which racial socialization influences youth mental health. Further, only youth-report (not parent-report) of racial socialization was predictive of youth mental health. Our findings have significant implications for intervention and point to the need for future research to consider these differential effects of racial socialization, given their impact on the mental health outcomes of Asian American youth.