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A 21st Century Take on Racial-Ethnic Socialization: Patterns of Competency and Content among Diverse Parents of Color

Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109, USA
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27412, USA
School of Public Health, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284, USA
Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(2), 88;
Submission received: 31 October 2021 / Revised: 2 February 2022 / Accepted: 12 February 2022 / Published: 21 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parenting in the 21st Century)


Racial-ethnic socialization is a process where parents pass beliefs and behaviors to their children, including critical reflections on race and racism. Currently, it is not well known across racial/ethnic groups in the U.S how parents’ socialization competency (confidence, skills, and stress surrounding the delivery of racial-ethnic socialization) coalesces with the frequency with which they deliver different types of socialization messages (socialization content). The current study utilizes latent profile analysis to examine racial-ethnic socialization content and competency patterns among 203 Black, 194 Latinx, and 188 Asian American parents (n = 585, Mage = 44.46, SD = 9.14, 59.70% mothers) with children 10–18 years old (Mage = 14.30, SD = 2.49, 50.3% female). Furthermore, we relate profiles to sociodemographic and relevant factors posited to impact socialization competency and content delivery, namely, discrimination and critical consciousness dimensions (reflection, motivation, action). We observed three parental profiles: Less Prepared Stressed Low Frequency (LPSLF; n = 285), Prepared Low Stress Frequent (PLSF; n = 204), and Prepared Stressed Frequent (PSF; n = 96) socializers. Profile differences emerged on parental and youth sociodemographic factors, lifetime discrimination exposure, and each parental critical consciousness dimension. This study lays a foundation for the combined study of racial-ethnic socialization competence and content in diverse groups, a practice crucial to understanding 21st century parenting.

1. Introduction

Parental racial-ethnic socialization (RES) refers to the explicit and implicit beliefs and behaviors parents communicate to children to help them better understand the meaning and importance of their racial-ethnic group membership and the nature of racism and discrimination in their society (Hughes et al. 2016a). Researchers have demonstrated that this form of communication is key in helping youth thrive in the face of racial-ethnic discrimination (Hughes et al. 2006; Neblett et al. 2012). RES has also been shown to be a unique strategy to contend with race-related stress for parenting children of color (see Anderson et al. 2018). While RES has always been an important task for parents of color, the need for effective RES has become even more important due to increased racial tensions since the 2016 United States presidential election (Miller and Werner-Winslow 2016), the parallel pandemics of COVID-19 and racism (Anderson et al. 2021), and an increasing recognition of racism as a significant public health crisis (Vestal 2020). RES has been shown to protect youth against the deleterious outcomes of race-related stress and trauma (Hughes et al. 2016a), making it an important source of resilience in need of further study, particularly in these trying times. Traditional ways of measuring RES have tended to focus on the content of messages—more specifically, how frequently different types of RES (e.g., cultural socialization/pride, preparation for bias, etc.; Hughes et al. 2006) were communicated to children1. However, research on RES is beginning to evolve, and researchers are starting to explore how parents’ perceived RES competency, or their perceived confidence, skills, and stress levels surrounding the delivery of frequent RES content (Anderson et al. 2020), impacts their and their child’s psychosocial and identity-related outcomes.
While research on both RES content (see Umaña-Taylor and Hill 2020 for detailed review) and competency has grown, less is known about how parents’ RES competency corresponds with RES content outside of Black families (see Jones et al. 2021). To optimally support parents raising their children in the unique, increasingly racialized context of the early 21st century U.S., it is first necessary to identify what patterns of socialization content and competency parents of color are displaying, as well as illustrate some of the racial factors, such as parental racial discrimination exposure and critical consciousness, that might be associated with these patterns. Thus, the current study employs latent profile analysis to examine constellations of socialization competency and content in a large sample of Black, Latinx, and Asian American parents of adolescents.

1.1. The Generational Progression of Research on Racial-Ethnic Socialization

As the body of research on RES has evolved over the last four decades, the study of RES may be broken into distinct generations, or paradigms of how to study RES and what aspects of it to study; the shift to studying RES competency marks the beginning of the third generation of RES research. More specifically, the first generation of RES research was characterized by observational research trying to define and conceptualize the construct (e.g., Bowman and Caldwell 1985; Peters 1985). Next came the second generation, where scholars attempted to examine the frequency of RES messaging, as well as its predictors and consequences (e.g., Hughes and Johnson 2001; Neblett et al. 2009; Stevenson 1994). Now is the beginning of the third generation, where scholars are beginning to focus on applied practice and interventions to facilitate effective RES (e.g., Anderson et al. 2018; Coard et al. 2007; Stevenson 2002) and focus on parental RES competency (e.g., Anderson et al. 2020; Anderson et al. 2021; Anderson and Stevenson 2019) specifically as an intervention target with downstream benefits for family functioning and resilience in the face of discrimination. In this way, the construct—much like the practice—has developed through multiple generations.
In light of this expansion, and with an understanding of how subsequent generations of research evolve from prior generations (see Driscoll et al. 2008, for example, in the acculturation literature), it is important to note the advancements made in recent years while honoring the contribution of early RES findings. For example, while racial discrimination has been a construct often paired with RES (see Knight et al. 1993; Stevenson 1994 for 20th century examples with Latinx and Black populations, respectively), it is in this 21st century that parenting in the context of a 24 h news cycle, personal streaming devices, and lockdown policies has made conversations about race and racism ubiquitous. Discrimination has also increased rapidly towards various racial and ethnic groups given unique experiences facing certain groups (e.g., excessive force used by police, forced parent–child separation at the U.S. border, being blamed for the spread of COVID-19). Furthermore, in line with an increasing trend of scholars who are examining how an understanding of systemic inequalities (e.g., critical consciousness; Watts et al. 2011) impacts developmental processes in children, parental critical consciousness may also have an important role to play in their provision of RES and, ultimately, their children’s reception of this communication. Additionally, 21st century advances in technology have resulted in increased chances to observe examples of structural racial inequalities, which may necessitate subsequent RES from parents (e.g., Thomas and Blackmon 2015). As such, it is of great importance to understand the patterns of RES content and competency exhibited by parents of color in the 21st century as well as the factors influencing those patterns.

1.2. RES in Families of Color

RES has typically been characterized by its content, and this content has generally fallen into four categories: cultural socialization, preparation for bias, promotion of mistrust, and egalitarian messages (Hughes et al. 2006; Umaña-Taylor and Hill 2020). Cultural socialization—frequently referred to as “pride socialization”—is a category of RES that focuses on supporting racial-ethnic pride by teaching the history, customs, values, and traditions associated with the family’s racial or ethnic group. “Preparation for bias messages” refer to a category of messages that warn youth about potential experiences of racial-ethnic discrimination and provide coping strategies to deal with these harmful experiences (Hughes et al. 2006). “Promotion of mistrust” messages warn youth to avoid other racial-ethnic groups due to potential discrimination but, unlike preparation for bias messages, are devoid of advice on ways to cope with discrimination. Finally, “egalitarian messages” emphasize racial-ethnic equality. Unlike the other categories of messages, these can have either a positive or negative valence; some egalitarian messages can focus on celebrating diversity and the gains of cultural pluralism while others can minimize and downplay the role of race in society (Juang et al. 2016).

1.2.1. RES Content Profiles

Person-centered analyses are powerful analytical tools that facilitate the investigation of RES content, as well as its predictors, correlates, and consequences. Person-centered analyses ‘uncover’ groups of individuals latent within the data that are similar to each other and different from other groups on key variables of interest (von Eye and Bogat 2006), such as patterns of how frequently different types of RES content are communicated to children. Person-centered analyses also allow for the assessment of how relevant factors, such as discrimination, critical consciousness, and sociodemographic variables, relate to profiles. Given their high degree of flexibility, and consideration of the whole person, person-centered approaches have been touted as critical in stimulating strengths-based research in populations of color and in identifying complex patterns of RES content (Neblett et al. 2016). Across past studies of RES content, three to five profiles often emerge, with a large profile providing frequent and varied RES messages (e.g., cultural socialization and preparation for bias, self-worth) and smaller profiles delivering RES messages with lower and more moderate frequencies. In these smaller profiles, parents across studies tend to display a pattern focused primarily on more negative messages and a pattern by which relatively less engaged parents provided significantly fewer overall RES messages (Ayón et al. 2019; Caughy et al. 2011; Cooper et al. 2015b; White-Johnson et al. 2010). Saleem et al.’s (2020) person-centered study provides a notable but rare exception to this trend, with the largest group providing a low frequency of RES messages.

1.2.2. Factors Associated with RES Content

In addition to research increasingly using person-centered approaches illustrating patterns of RES content, a growing body of research on RES content (i.e., research of the 2nd generation) has used variable and person-centered approaches to examine the factors associated with the provision of different types and patterns of RES messaging. This research has primarily focused on how sociodemographic factors and parents’ experiences of discrimination have impacted how frequently parents communicate different types of RES messages. For example, higher parental socioeconomic status has been associated with more varied, frequent messages (White-Johnson et al. 2010). The impact of child gender on RES content is unclear, with some Black families showing that boys receive more promotion of mistrust and preparation for bias messages (Caughy et al. 2011), while others finding that boys receive less RES across content areas (Cooper et al. 2015a). Child age may play a role, as Latinx parents have been shown to provide more RES to older children than younger children (Ayón et al. 2019).
Parental experiences of discrimination are also relevant to their RES practices. For example, RES content profiles characterized by greater number and variability in messages tended to have parents who reported greater racial pride, higher racial centrality, and more racial-ethnic discrimination relative to profiles with parents who delivered fewer RES messages (e.g., Cooper et al. 2015b; White-Johnson et al. 2010). Further, parents who experience more discrimination as their children enter later adolescence change their constellation of messages to increase both cultural socialization and preparation for bias (Saleem et al. 2020). These findings are supported by Priest et al.’s (2014) review of the RES literature, in which four studies of Black parents indicated that past experiences of discrimination influenced the RES parents administered to their children.

1.2.3. The Need to Examine Critical Consciousness in the Context of Parental RES

In addition to their interpersonal experiences of racial discrimination, parents’ awareness and response to structural inequality likely also influence their RES practices. This intersection has been understudied in the literature but may be crucial in understanding parents’ RES practices. Critical consciousness describes a person’s understanding of societal inequalities (critical reflection), motivation to combat these inequalities (political efficacy), and actual action aimed at dismantling inequality (critical action; Diemer et al. 2020). Recent theoretical work suggests that parents’ structural analysis of racial inequity and efficacy may serve as a foundation for parental practices that protect their children from the adverse effects of racial bias (Marchand et al. 2019). Yet, for the most part, research on RES and critical consciousness has focused on elucidating the role of RES content in cultivating youth’s critical consciousness, underscoring the interlocking processes of RES content delivery and critical consciousness (Anyiwo et al. 2018; Anyiwo et al., forthcoming; Bañales et al. 2020). Despite this promising work, limited research has considered the relation between parents’ understanding of and resisting inequality and the delivery of RES messages. Qualitative studies on RES practices have found that parents use their understanding of the systemic nature of racial inequalities in the legal system and within society (e.g., critical reflection) to explain to their children the unjust deaths of unarmed Black boys at the hands of police officers (Thomas and Blackmon 2015; Threlfall 2018). This suggests that parents with a greater understanding of social inequalities are using that understanding to inform the delivery of RES messages that help youth recognize stressors as racialized, whether they are systemic (i.e., requiring critical reflection) or interpersonal; in this context, these parents’ RES is likely geared towards helping their children to effectively cope with future discriminatory events (Anderson and Stevenson 2019). Furthermore, parents may draw on their activism in racial justice movements to inform RES practice, equipping their youth with models of how to counter racism (Watts 2018). While the associations between parental critical consciousness and RES content have not been explored quantitatively, this previously cited qualitative and theoretical work suggests that parental understanding of societal inequalities, motivation to correct inequalities, and activism to dismantle unequal systems may be related to RES message frequency. Ultimately, far more work is needed to understand how parents’ critical consciousness dimensions have differential influences on parents’ RES practices. Despite their utility, all the aforementioned studies have focused exclusively on identifying predictors and correlates of RES content. As such, not only is there little known about parents’ RES competency, even less is known about the intersection between content with competency and whether predictors of RES content also play a role in parents’ RES competency.

1.3. The Evolution of RES through a Focus on Competency

Although RES constitutes an important parenting skill for parents of color, less understood is parental RES competence, or parents’ stress around RES combined with whether parents feel they have the confidence and skills that make them prepared to deliver RES messages (Anderson et al. 2020). In the Racial Encounter Coping Appraisal and Socialization Theory (RECAST; Anderson and Stevenson 2019; Stevenson 2014), the authors center parental competency as necessary to facilitate effective parent–child RES conversations that result in youth developing coping self-efficacy and, ultimately, expanded coping skills to deal with discrimination.

1.3.1. What Comprises RES Competency?

RES competency comprises parents’ stress levels, perceived skills, and perceived confidence surrounding the communication of RES content (Anderson et al. 2020). RES conversations can be stressful for parents due to their own experiences of discrimination, emotional arousal, and difficulty in discussing these topics in developmentally appropriate ways (Anderson et al. 2018; Coard et al. 2004; Stein et al. 2021). This stress may impede parents’ ability to frequently deliver an array of RES messages—especially those focused on preparation for bias and coping with discrimination (Anderson and Stevenson 2019; Ayón 2016). Beyond stress, RES competency also requires a preparedness to deliver RES messages—potentially in spite of the stress these messages incite in parents. We conceptualize preparedness as a sub-dimension of competency that includes parents’ perceived confidence and skills. Even if parents can frequently communicate RES content to their children in an effective way, true RES competence would involve a high level of confidence and skills (i.e., high preparedness to do RES) combined with lower levels of stress—again, as stress may impair one’s confidence and the skill with which one delivers RES content.

1.3.2. Why Does RES Competency Matter?

In addition to RES content, or the frequency with which parents communicate different types of RES messages, RES competency is important to study because of its potential associations with important youth outcomes. The body of work on RES competency is small but quickly growing. For instance, Anderson et al. (2021) found that in a variable-centered study that higher levels of RES competence, as measured by greater confidence and skills and lower stress, mitigated the harmful link between parental discrimination, parental racial worries, and child psychosocial outcomes in Black families. Stated differently, parents who faced discrimination experienced more worries about them and their children experiencing discrimination, and these parental worries were associated with worse mental health in their children; however, this relation between parental worries and youth’s functioning was weaker for those high in RES competency (Anderson et al. 2021). Parental RES competency, therefore, may be important not only in its relations to the communication of RES content, but it may also have the ability to disrupt intergenerational pathways by which parents’ discrimination experiences and worries about racial issues are associated with mental health symptomatology in their children. This is consistent with the RECAST model (Anderson and Stevenson 2019), which asserts that RES content communicated after a stressful racial encounter has the potential to mitigate the negative impacts of this encounter on youth outcomes if parents have adequate levels of RES competency (high confidence, high skills, moderate to low stress) in socializing their children in response to this negative encounter. Exposure to numerous examples of racial-ethnic inequality is ever-present in 21st century U.S. society. Therefore, a greater understanding now of RES competency and RES content may ultimately help us intervene to disrupt some of the negative cascading and intergenerational impacts of discrimination.

1.3.3. A Person-Centered Approach to RES Competency

Only one study thus far has applied person-centered analyses—which again have the potential to advance our understanding of RES competency and RES content and advance equity, social justice, and research on populations of color (Neblett et al. 2016)—in the context of RES content and competency. In this sole, highly informative study, Jones et al. (2021) used a person-centered approach to determine the patterns of RES content and competence in a sample of Black caregivers and what parental factors were associated with these patterns. Three profiles were identified: competent parents who provided frequent and multifaceted RES messages (Multifaceted and More Competent), moderately competent parents who were less engaged in RES content delivery (Unengaged and Moderately Competent), and stressed parents who delivered negative RES content messages (NLCS; Less Competent and Stressed). Multifaceted and More Competent parents were more likely to be older and have older children relative to Less Competent and Stressed parents, likely building competence with delivery of RES messages with time. Their Black identity was also seen more positively and as more central to their overall identity relative to Less Competent and Stressed parents. In terms of discrimination, Unengaged and Moderately Competent parents reported less racial discrimination relative to Less Competent and Stressed parents, suggesting that fewer discriminatory experiences may surprisingly be an impetus for the delivery of more negative RES messages that disparage one’s own group. These studies highlight that whether parents feel confident or stressed about delivering RES messages, this competence links to the types of RES messages they deliver. These patterns are also informed by demographic and racial processes, including parents’ own racial identity and experiences of discrimination. This work, moreover, may be helpful in understanding RES content and competency in other populations of color in the United States (e.g., Asian American and Latinx).

1.3.4. The Need to Study RES Content and Competency across Diverse Populations

Asian American and Latinx parents must also contend with how to support their children in navigating the racial landscape of the United States, yet little work has examined RES content in these populations, with even less work examining preparation for bias or egalitarian messages (Priest et al. 2014; see Juang et al. 2017 for a review of RES in Asian families and Ayón et al. 2020 for a review in Latinx families). Further, RES competency in Asian American and Latinx parents has yet to be explored. A set of studies by Kiang et al. (2017, 2021) with Asian American and Latinx parents has examined a construct akin to RES confidence, which they term cultural parenting self-efficacy, defined as the belief that parents can teach their children the knowledge and values associated with their group as well as instill cultural pride. Consistent with Anderson et al.’s (2020) study with Black parents, cultural parenting self-efficacy was linked to general parenting self-efficacy for Latinx parents and greater parental involvement for both Asian American and Latinx parents (Kiang et al. 2017; Kiang et al. 2021). In contrast to the results by Jones et al. (2021), some aspects of cultural parenting self-efficacy were lower for Latinx parents with older children, especially efficacy around delivering messages about maintaining bicultural ties.
Taken together, it is clear that parental competence in delivering RES messages is evident across communities of color in the U.S. and is associated with other aspects of parenting as well. Yet, less is known about how RES competence, RES content, and sociodemographic factors are related across racial and ethnic groups. Understanding patterns of RES content and competency will be critical in the continued evolution of research on RES, particularly because RES competency is a phenomenon that is relevant and may operate more fairly across families of all groups (see Jones et al. 2021). Further, as the third wave of RES researchers work to support parents’ RES practices and competency through direct intervention with varying racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Anderson et al. 2018; Stein et al. 2021), understanding the correlates of patterns of RES competency and content will be key in calibrating and optimizing interventions to support parental RES competency and content.

2. Current Study

In the current study, we sought a more comprehensive understanding of RES content and competency within and across racial-ethnic groups by conducting a latent profile analysis of RES competency and content in Black, Latinx, and Asian American parents. To provide a description of the types of parents in each profile, we examined whether RES competency and content profiles differ based on numerous parent and child sociodemographic characteristics. Finally, we also examined other factors that have been posited as impacting RES content delivery, such as parental exposure to racial discrimination and three dimensions of critical consciousness: understanding of social inequality (reflection), motivation to correct social inequities (motivation), and behaviors directed at dismantling unequal social systems (action). The impact of many of these factors on RES competency has not yet been thoroughly examined.
We hypothesized that we would observe profiles of socialization competency and content similar to Jones et al.’s (2021) study in a sample of Black parents (i.e., a high competence multifaceted profile, a moderately competent profile, and a low competence high stress profile). However, because this constitutes the first study to examine patterns of socialization competency and content in Latinx and Asian American parents, we made no a priori hypotheses regarding differences between profiles on sociodemographic factors, discrimination, and critical consciousness dimensions.

3. Method

3.1. Participants

Participants were 585 parents (Mage = 44.46, SD = 9.14, 59.70% mothers) with children between the ages of 10 and 18 (Mage = 14.30, SD = 2.49, 50.3% female). In terms of racial-ethnic characteristics, parents were relatively equally distributed between Black (n = 203), Asian American (n = 194), and Latinx (n = 188) groups. A majority of parents were married or cohabitating with a partner (76.7%). The median household income of our sample was between USD 75,000 and 99,000 (the modal family, or 19.5% of our sample, earned between USD 50,000 and 75,000) and the modal level of parental education was a 4-year college degree. A majority (63.4%) of parents were born in the United States. We observed racial-ethnic differences in household income, where Asian American families earned more than Latinx families (p < 0.001), who then in turn earned more than Black families (p = 0.002). Black and Latinx families did not differ in parental education but did each report less education than Asian American parents (p < 0.001). Foreign-born parents, on average, earned more and had achieved higher education than U.S.-born parents (p < 0.001).

3.2. Procedure

Participants for the current study were recruited directly through Qualtrics Research Panels for a larger study on parental racial and ethnic socialization practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, parents had to self-identify as Black, Latinx, Asian American, or White and have a child between the ages of 10 and 18. Parents were still eligible for the study if they had additional children within or outside of our target age range; however, parents completed survey questions in reference to their oldest child between ages 10 and 18. This child was subsequently described as the ‘reference child’. After being recruited into the study, parents provided informed consent and proceeded to complete an online Qualtrics survey assessing dimensions of RES competency. All study procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board. Due to the unique aspects of RES in multiracial families who have parents of different racial groups (see Atkin and Yoo 2019), and White families (see Umaña-Taylor and Hill 2020) who hold privilege over people of color, these families were excluded from analysis for this study. This study was not pre-registered and data and syntax for this study are not publicly available.

3.3. Measures

3.3.1. Profile Indicators

RES Competency

Socialization competency was assessed using a version of the Racial Socialization Competency Scale (Anderson et al. 2020) adapted and validated for use across racial-ethnic groups (Jones et al. 2021). This measure assesses four domains: racial socialization confidence (29 items), skills (29 items), general stress (22 items), and call-to-action stress (7 items). Participants were presented with sample items such as ‘share my emotions about my experiences of negative racial encounters’ and ‘teach my child to share their feelings about the history of racism and slavery’ and indicate their belief in their ability to deliver this message (confidence), how prepared they are to deliver this message (skill), and how stressed they would be delivering this message (stress). Greater detail on the measurement creation, validation, and invariance testing process can be found in Jones et al. (2021).
To summarize one notable adaptation from Anderson et al.’s (2020) scale to facilitate its use across racial/ethnic groups, the 5-point Likert scale used across all subscales was changed to a 4-point Likert scale for RES confidence and RES skills. This change was made because certain racial/ethnic groups did not use response options 1 and 2 when responding to RES confidence and skills items; to facilitate measurement validation and invariance testing (see Jones et al. 2021), response options 1 (‘not at all’ for confidence and ‘very unprepared’ for skills) and 2 (‘unlikely’ for confidence and ‘unprepared’ for skills) were recoded and combined. This resulted in a four-point RES confidence subscale with confidence response options: ‘not at all/unlikely’ (1), ‘maybe/maybe not’ (2), ‘I think I can’ (3), and ‘absolutely’ (4). The four response options for RES skills were: ‘very unprepared/unprepared’ (1), ‘in the middle’ (2), ‘prepared’ (3), and ‘very prepared’ (4).
For the stress subscales, collapsing response categories was not necessary (see Jones et al. 2021), resulting in the same five-point Likert scale outlined in Anderson et al. (2020) with response options: ‘very unstressed’ (1), ‘unstressed’ (2), ‘in the middle’ (3), ‘stressed’ (4), and ‘very stressed’ (5). Greater values indicated greater perceived confidence, skills, general stress, and call to action stress. In our sample, reliabilities were 0.97 for confidence, 0.98 for skills, 0.97 for general stress, and 0.93 for call-to-action stress.

RES Content Frequency

He frequency with which parents delivered different types of RES messages was assessed using subscales from Hughes (2003) parental socialization measure, and well as Juang et al.’s (2016) Asian American Parental Racial-Ethnic Socialization Scale. The Hughes measure was used to assess the frequency of: pride socialization (5 items; e.g., ‘encouraged your child to read books concerning the history or traditions of your ethnicity/race’), preparation for bias (6 items; ‘told your child that people might try to limit him or her because of their ethnicity/race’), and promotion of mistrust (2 items; ‘Done or said things to keep your child from trusting students from other ethnic/racial groups’). Additionally, key items from Juang et al.’s (2016) measure were used to assess: cultural pluralism (4 items; ‘encouraged your child to have friends from other racial/ethnic backgrounds’), promotion of equality (3 items; ‘showed your child that all people are equal regardless of race or ethnicity’), and minimization of race (3 items; ‘told your child that racism doesn’t exist’).
For pride, preparation for bias, and promotion of mistrust, parents indicated the frequency with which they delivered each message on a five-point Likert scale from ‘never’ (1) to ‘six or more times’ (5), while, for the cultural pluralism, promotion of equality, and minimization of race subscales, frequency was assessed on a five-point Likert scale from ‘never’ (1) to ‘very often’ (5). In our sample, reliabilities were 0.88 for pride socialization, 0.87 for preparation for bias socialization, 0.89 for cultural pluralism, 0.84 for promotion of equality, 0.75 for promotion of mistrust, and 0.88 for minimization of race socialization.

3.3.2. Variables Tested for Profile Differences

Parent and Youth Sociodemographics

Parental income, education, age, biological sex, immigrant status, and race (dummy codes for Latinx and Asian parents with Black parents as the reference group), as well as child age and biological sex, were used as correlates of profile membership.

Parental Critical Consciousness Dimensions

Critical reflection (4 items), motivation (4 items), and action (5 items) were assessed using the Short Critical Consciousness Scale (Diemer et al. 2020). Participants indicated their agreement with reflection (e.g., ‘certain racial or ethnic groups have fewer chances to get ahead’) and motivation items (e.g., ‘it is my responsibility to get involved and make things better for society’) on a six-point Likert scale from ‘strongly disagree’ (1) to ‘strongly agree’ (6). For critical action items, participants indicated how frequently they participated in various activities (e.g., ‘participated in a civil rights group or organization’) over the past year on a five-point Likert scale ranging from ‘never did this’ (1) to ‘at least once a week’ (5). Cronbach’s alphas in the measurement validation sample, a diverse sample of adolescents, were 0.93, 0.80, and 0.82 for reflection, motivation, and action, respectively (Diemer et al. 2020). In our sample of Black, Latinx, and Asian American parents, reliabilities were 0.89, 0.84, and 0.95, respectively.

Parental Lifetime Discrimination

Parental lifetime discrimination was assessed using a single item from the Racism Life Experiences Scale (Harrell et al. 1997). When asked “Overall, during your lifetime, how much have you personally experienced racism, racial discrimination, or racial prejudice?” participants responded, ‘not at all’ (1), ‘a little’ (2), ‘some’ (3), ‘a lot’ (4), or ‘extremely’ (5). This is one of the most common measures used to assess racial discrimination (Priest et al. 2013).

4. Results

4.1. Analytic Plan

All analyses were conducted in Mplus version 8.6. After examining means and correlations among key study variables, we used our measures of RES competency and content as indicators in latent profile analyses using a maximum likelihood estimator robust to non-normality. All profile indicators were standardized prior to evaluating competing models and plotting the final model. All missing data were handled using Full Information Maximum Likelihood and the maximum amount of missing data that we observed was 4 missing observations for promotion of equality out of 585 observations.
In conducting latent profile analyses, we compared the fit indices of models specifying between two and five profiles, relying on a combination of the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC), Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC), sample-size-adjusted BIC, and two versions of the Lo–Mendel–Rubin likelihood ratio test (LRT). While lower AIC, BIC, and sample-size-adjusted BIC generally indicate better fit, it is recommended to retain the profile solution where the decreases in these indices begin to taper as the number of profiles increases (Muthén 2013). A statistically significant LRT value indicates that the current profile solution fits the data significantly better than a solution with one fewer profile. Although it is not a fit statistic (L. Muthén 2008) and, as recommended, was not a major factor in determining the optimal profile solution (Muthén 2017), we report model entropy, an indicator of how accurately participants were classified in their respective profiles. Entropy values above 0.80 are considered ‘good’ (B. Muthén 2008).
After deciding on the final profile solution and describing the socialization competency and content of parents in these profiles, we used the BCH procedure (Bakk and Vermunt 2016), the gold standard procedure for examining profile differences (Asparouhov and Muthen 2020), to examine whether parents in various profiles differ from parents in other profiles based on a multitude of parental demographics (income, education, age, biological sex, immigrant status, race) and child factors (age and biological sex). This allowed us to gain a much richer understanding of the types of parents in each profile and the characteristics of their children to whom they deliver socialization messages. Finally, we used the BCH procedure to examine whether parents in various profiles differed from those in other profiles with respect to variables proposed to affect RES: critical consciousness (reflection, motivation, and action) and lifetime exposure to racial discrimination.

4.2. Initial Descriptive Statistics

Means and correlations between all study variables may be seen in Table S1 in the Supplemental Materials. Socialization confidence (M = 3.16, SD = 0.69) and skills (M = 2.80, SD = 0.69) were generally negatively related to both forms of socialization-related stress and positively related to socialization content (r = −0.07–0.36). Confidence and skills were not, however, related to promotion of mistrust messages, and skills were negatively associated with minimization of race (r = −0.13, p = 0.002). While older parents engaged in less minimization of race (r = −0.19, p < 0.001) and felt less general and call to action stress (r = −0.10, p = 0.016), parental and child age was largely unrelated to socialization competency and content.

4.3. Identifying Profiles

Based on the previously identified model fit criteria, a three-profile solution was determined to provide the best fit to the data (see Table 1). While the LRT value for the three-profile solution falls just under the cutoff for statistical significance (LRT = 479.19, p = 0.049), the decreases in AIC, BIC, and sample-size-adjusted BIC provided converging evidence for a three-profile solution.
Parents in the largest profile were termed Less Prepared Stressed Low Frequency (LPSLF) socializers. The 285 (48.72% of sample) parents in the LPSLF profiles were characterized by low confidence and skills but above average levels of socialization-related stress. In terms of socialization content, LPSLF parents gave all forms of RES with below average frequency except for promotion of mistrust messages, which were near the sample mean, and minimization of race messages, which were slightly above the sample mean.
Parents in the second largest profile were termed Prepared Low Stress Frequent (PLSF) socializers. The 204 parents (34.87% of the sample) in the PLSF profile were characterized by high socialization-related confidence and skills and the lowest levels of stress in the entire sample (see Figure 1). In terms of socialization content, these parents gave average to above average levels of positive messages (i.e., pride, pluralism, and equality) and preparation for bias messages, but relatively uncommon mistrust and race minimization messages.
Parents in the smallest profile were termed Prepared Stressed Frequent (PSF) socializers. The 96 parents (16.41% of the sample) in the PSF profile were characterized by above average confidence and skills but the highest levels of general and call to action socialization-related stress. PSF parents administered the most frequent RES of all parents, regardless of the content of the socialization message types. PSF parents were, thus, highest in positive messages and negative messages such as promotion of mistrust and minimizing the importance of race. Unstandardized values by profile may be seen in Table S2.

4.4. Mean-Level Profile Differences

After identifying and characterizing the socialization competency and content of parents in each of our three profiles, we explored whether profiles differed with respect to a multitude of parent and child sociodemographic factors.

4.4.1. Parent and Youth Sociodemographics

An examination of profile differences based on characteristics of the parent revealed no differences with respect to income, education level, or biological sex (see Table 2). Parents in the PLSF profile were older than those in both the LPSLF (χ2 = 5.30, p = 0.021, Δ = 2.15 years) and PSF profiles (χ2 = 7.90, p = 0.005, Δ = 3.48 years). The LPSLF profile had the greatest proportion of immigrant parents (45.6%) compared to the other two profiles, meaning that immigrant parents tended to display a pattern of socialization competency and content characterized by high stress surrounding RES and less frequent messages, save for mistrust messages and minimizing race messages. In terms of race, Latinx and Black parents were equally represented across socialization profiles. Asian parents, however, were overrepresented in the LPSLF profile (44.1% of the profile consisted of Asian parents) compared to other profiles. Examining profile differences based on child characteristics, parents in the PLSF profile had a slightly older reference child than LPSLF parents (χ2 = 4.06, p = 0.044, Δ = 0.54 years). Additionally, LPSLF parents had a higher proportion of male reference children (53.9%) than PLSF parents (42.7%; χ2 = 5.31, p = 0.021). Further probing of the intersection between race and immigrant status revealed that the LPSLF group had a higher proportion of Asian American immigrants (29.1%) than PLSF (13.8%; χ2 = 15.55, p < 0.001) and PSF groups (14.4%; χ2 = 7.86, p = 0.005). No differences between profiles were observed with respect to the proportion of Latinx immigrant parents in different profiles.

4.4.2. Parent Critical Consciousness and Discrimination

Finally, we examined how other critical consciousness and racial-ethnic discrimination differed based on socialization competency and content profiles. Relative to other profiles, PSF parents endorsed the highest levels of critical reflection, or understanding of structural inequalities (see Table 2). Relative to other profiles, LPSLF parents endorsed the lowest motivation to correct social inequalities. Finally, we found that PSF parents reported engaging in the most critical action, followed by PLSF parents and then LPSLF parents. With respect to lifetime discrimination exposure, PSF parents also reported the greatest amount of exposure to racial discrimination over their lifetimes compared to parents from the PLSF (χ2 = 17.29 p < 0.001) and LPSLF profiles (χ2 = 17.38, p < 0.001).

5. Discussion

In this challenging time, 21st century parents of color face complex and evolving challenges revolving around issues of race and racism including the dual COVID-19 and racism pandemics, the changing nature of racism from explicit to implicit (Bonilla-Silva 2021) then arguably back towards explicit, and the technological changes that have made exposure to instances of negative racial encounters on TV and in the media chronic and unavoidable. Given this unique context, it is necessary for the RES literature to mature, working towards a more comprehensive understanding of RES that not only considers the content of messages that parents convey, but also examines parents’ RES competence. This study employed latent profile analysis to examine parents of color’s patterns of both RES content—or the frequency of the messages parents are delivering to their children about race—and socialization competency, or their perceived confidence, skills, and stress around administering such messages. This study aligns with and extends prior person-centered work focusing on socialization content (e.g., Christophe et al. 2021; Cooper et al. 2015a; Neblett et al. 2009; White-Johnson et al. 2010) that finds evidence for heterogeneity in the constellation of socialization messages that parents administer to youth. Specifically, we found evidence for three groups of socializers of decreasing size. First were LPSLF socializers, who were low in confidence and skills, above the mean in stress, and delivered a majority of RES content with below average frequency. Second were PLSF socializers, who were highest in confidence and skills, low in stress, and delivered most messages with slightly above average frequency. Third were PSF socializers, who reported high confidence and skills regarding RES, the highest levels of stress, and the most frequent RES content across all RES types.
Although the specific content of RES messages differs slightly across studies, our work aligns with findings from Jones et al. (2021), the sole person-centered examination of competency and content in Black families. These studies both find evidence for profiles differentiated from one another based on differences in socialization content and parents’ levels of confidence, skill, and stress around the delivery of RES content. This study, moreover, builds upon the literature by providing the first examination of RES competency and content in Latinx and Asian American parents. Finally, consistent with variable-centered results from Anderson et al. (2020) and profile findings from Jones et al. (2021), we found that parents in different socialization profiles also differ with respect to sociodemographic factors such as parental and child age, race, immigrant status, past racial discrimination experiences, and dimensions of critical consciousness.

5.1. Less Prepared Stressed Low Frequency Socializers

The most prevalent profile, the LPSLF profile, which consisted of parents who reported engaging in RES socialization in ways that were virtually opposite from the PLSF group (i.e., fewer socialization messages that are considered ‘adaptive’ in combination with moderate to high levels of mistrust and minimization of race). These parents also reported relatively low confidence and skills, but high stress surrounding the communication of RES content. One explanation for this common but surprising pattern of competency and content is that these parents’ low perceived confidence and skills prevented them from speaking up about race-ethnicity and having tough conversations about race and racism in the U.S. Another non-mutually exclusive explanation, however, has to do with the demographic differences observed amongst this profile. Almost half of LPSLF parents were born outside of the U.S., report their race as Asian American or Latinx, and reported on sons.
It is plausible that these non-U.S.-born parents, both Asian American and otherwise, have less familiarity with the complex racial history that exists in the U.S.; this may both hinder their competency and lessen the frequency with which they give RES messaging. Further evidence of this claim lies in the observation that LPSLF parents also reported less critical motivation and action, indicating that they felt less of a pressing need to engage with issues of systemic inequality in the U.S. (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender). It is possible that foreign-born parents in the LPSLF profile feel a general lack of efficacy not only with respect to RES, but also in terms of enacting sociopolitical change, which could then translate into less action (Watts et al. 2011). Alternatively, more direct links could be posited whereby their lack of critical motivation and sociopolitical participation hinders their effective communication of race-related messages, or vice versa.
LPSLF parents also engaged in an above average amount of minimizing the importance or race and ethnicity. This minimization of race may serve various functions. For instance, these predominately Asian (44.1%) and Latinx (29.6%) immigrant parents may be minimizing the importance of race to their children as an attempt to get them to internalize an American identity and associated beliefs that hard work results in success and structural barriers do not exist. This preference towards minimization of race may also be linked to this group of parents’ relatively low level of cultural—or pride—socialization. In a person-centered study of immigrant-origin Latinx moms, Christophe et al. (2020) observed that ‘assimilated’ mothers who had weak ethnic identities, but strong American identities, engaged in less pride socialization of their children. Although these patterns of socialization may not match what is typically regarded as ‘adaptive’ (see Umaña-Taylor and Hill 2020), it is important to acknowledge that all parents engage in RES with the intention of protecting their children, regardless of the specific content of the RES messaging. We present these results to highlight the patterns of competency and content displayed by largely Asian American and immigrant parents, not to place a value judgement on or pathologize their RES practices.
Additionally, the LPSLF group, which consisted of mostly Asian and Latinx parents, may have experienced different forms of discrimination than Black parents in the sample, who tended to belong to the other profiles. For instance, Asian and Latinx parents relative to Black parents are more likely to experience foreigner objectification (Armenta et al. 2013), such as being told to ‘go back where you came from’ and be subjected to the perpetual foreigner stereotype, where Asian Americans (and Latinxs) are considered forever foreign and, thus, never ‘truly American’ (Lee et al. 2009). Finally, the increased anti-Asian racism resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (Cheng et al. 2021) also likely played a role in Asian participants’ reports of discrimination. All these forms of discrimination have unique meaning among members of these groups and may, realistically, impact parents’ RES competency—including their stress surrounding RES—and the content of their RES. For instance, unsuccessful attempts by parents to combat and cope with foreigner objectification and the perpetual foreigner stereotype may erode one’s confidence in their ability to teach one’s children to expect and cope with discrimination (i.e., preparation for bias socialization). Parents may choose to minimize the importance of race in these situations as a way of not having to communicate their own painful discrimination experiences to their kids. Finally, if foreigner objectification and these stereotypes are internalized, they may lead to a sense of internalized racism that impedes one’s confidence and perceived skills in administering RES content, particularly pride messages, to their children.

5.2. Prepared Low Stress Frequent Socializers

The second most common profile, the PLSF profile, was characterized by parents who tended to frequently transmit RES messages that have been shown as ‘adaptive’ in prior work (e.g., pride socialization, preparation for bias, pluralism, equality; Umaña-Taylor and Hill 2020) while placing less emphasis on more ‘negative’ forms of RES such as promotion of mistrust and minimization of race. Parents in the PLSF profile also reported relatively high confidence and skills in delivering RES messages as well as relatively low stress. These parents might be seen as conveying realistic messages about race, ethnicity, and discrimination, while also providing ways for their children to effectively cope with experiences of racism. In agreement with prior variable-centered work (Anderson et al. 2020), parents in this profile were distinguishable from their counterparts in other profiles in being older in age, suggesting that greater competency could be related to more lived experiences. Children of parents in this profile were also older than the children of LPSLF parents, indicating that with greater development and racial identity, the provision of accurate and realistic RES messages corresponds with parents’ sense of competency. However, this is in contrast with the general parenting literature depicting that general parental self-efficacy decreases as children move from early to middle adolescence (Glatz and Buchanan 2015). While the specific content of RES may change as a function of child age, parents of older children likely have more years of experience delivering RES, which may be associated with increased levels of RES competency. Additionally, our sample spans from early through to late adolescence, limiting our ability to extend Glatz and Buchanan’s (2015) findings to parents in our sample with children in late adolescence. Having racially and ethnically specific theories about parenting (e.g., RECAST; Anderson and Stevenson 2019) is crucial to understanding why general phenomena may not replicate with culturally specific stressors such as discrimination and coping strategies such as RES. Children of participants in this profile were also less likely to be sons, which is consistent with prior work showing that RES content communicated to sons and daughters is different and that even emphasis within the same type of message may differ between sons and daughters (Priest et al. 2014). Notably, parents in the PLSF profile also tended to report higher levels of critical action compared to those in the LPSLF profile, which suggests that some degree of confidence in discussing race-related issues might be needed to support critical action to redress social inequities.

5.3. Prepared Stressed Frequent Socializers

A third and smallest profile, the PSF profile, included parents who were most distinct from the other groups due to their high levels of stress in engaging in RES. In contrast to parents in the LPSLF profile, PSF parents indicated feeling confident and skilled in their approach of frequent RES transmission; however, they were highly stressed when doing so. It is possible that high levels of lifetime discrimination, also reported by this group, contribute to these higher levels of stress. Yet, at the same time, these parents appear highly motivated to transmit balanced socialization messages to their children, as they reported high frequencies of messages across the board. PSF parents also reported the highest levels of both critical reflection and critical action, which further suggests that they are deeply steeped in race-related issues. These parents appear to have the greatest investment in wanting to socialize their children and socialize them well but are stressed about the delivery of RES messages because they believe that doing a poor job may lead to their children not being able to effectively navigate unequal social systems and effectively respond to discrimination. This pattern of high engagement in race and racism, reflected through lived experiences of discrimination, awareness of and action against societal inequities, and frequency of RES, is somewhat consistent with prior work documenting ideologies of resistance among younger samples (Rivas-Drake and Mooney 2009). Similarly, these parents may be like those observed in Marchand et al. (2019) whose critical understanding of systemic inequalities helps them explain to their children the factors motivating police killings of unarmed Black boys. An understanding of systemic inequalities and the greater risk that their children are under (e.g., death at the hands of law enforcement) may render the process of RES delivery highly stressful in spite of parents’ preparedness (confidence and skills), result in high levels of parental critical action to attempt to redress inequalities and lower the risk their children are exposed to and drive the delivery of many different types of RES in an attempt to best protect their children.

5.4. Limitations and Future Research

Despite its contribution, this study is not without its limitations. Firstly, the cross-sectional design of this study prevented us from examining the development of RES competency and content as well as how these factors change over time. Parents’ confidence, skills, and stress around RES may change systematically as parents gain experience delivering messages, but it may also vary based on factors shown to impact socialization content such as the age of the child, parents’ and children’s racialized experiences, and sociopolitical occurrences (Hughes et al. 2006). Future longitudinal work should examine the predictors, correlates, and outcomes of parents’ patterns of RES competency and content, particularly through a cross-lagged analytical approach. Secondly, our study found differences in profile membership with respect to race/ethnicity and immigration status. Since parents of different groups and countries of origin may display different patterns of RES competency and content, future work with large sample sizes and high statistical power may consider examining these patterns and the mechanisms behind these patterns (1) within individual groups or (2) separately by race/ethnicity and immigration status. Creating profiles separately by race/ethnicity or collecting a sample of parents from a single racial/ethnic group may allow for a more nuanced understanding of RES content and competency in each group—for instance, a new and previously unobserved profile could be identified that may not show up when analyzing members of multiple groups together in the same model.
Thirdly, the use of self-report to measure critical consciousness and RES competency is a limitation in that we are measuring parents’ beliefs in their preparedness for delivering RES content competently. We did not measure or observe how well or competently parents behaved in their delivery of RES to their children. Elsewhere, this conceptual difference is discussed as ways that RES research reflects legacy versus literacy methodological approaches (Anderson and Stevenson 2019; Stevenson 2014). Despite no observational measurement of RES behavioral competency, this study illuminates the complexity of RES competency via RECAST Theory, which offers multiple avenues to improve the quality of RES content delivery in future intervention work. Fourth, the present study does not assess the degree to which aspects of parents’ ethnic-racial identities impact their patterns of RES competency and content. Ethnic-racial identity, a multidimensional construct broadly referring to the meaning and importance of race/ethnicity in one’s sense of self (Umaña-Taylor et al. 2014), has clear linkages to how frequently parents communicate the meaning and importance of race/ethnicity to their children through RES (Hughes et al. 2016a). These links have been documented in variable-centered (see Hughes et al. 2016b for brief review) and person-centered research (e.g., Cooper et al. 2015b; White-Johnson et al. 2010). Future studies should work to examine how different dimensions of parents’ ethnic-racial identities (e.g., centrality, private regard, public regard, etc.) relate to their patterns of RES content and competency.
Finally, the current study has focused on patterns of RES content and competency. RES is conceptualized as a factor that may help provide resilience by buffering against the negative effects of racism and discrimination. However, RES and other factors that engender resilience against racism do not explicitly prevent racism from occurring in the first place. As the field continues to dig into the ways RES competency and content are associated with positive outcomes and resilience, future work is also needed on ways to reduce the incidence of racism at the interpersonal, communal, and systemic level. Finally, our results on 21st century parents of color’s RES competency and content are inextricably intertwined with the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic. These data were collected in the fall of 2020, a time where schools across the U.S. were largely virtual, parents were spending far greater amounts of time in the home with youth due to safety regulations, and the news was rife with stories of police killings and racial unrest in the leadup to the 2020 U.S. presidential election. While this context was, in many ways, ideal for studying RES patterns and their associations with discrimination and critical consciousness, the extent to which these findings will hold in a post-pandemic U.S. remain to be seen. Future work should continue to examine patterns of RES competency and content—as well as their correlates—during the pandemic and post pandemic to examine the degrees to which patterns are consistent across time and are not due to a cohort effect associated with socializing children of color in the middle of a COVID pandemic and racism endemic (Anderson et al. 2021).

5.5. Implications for Parenting in the 21st Century

Despite its limitations, this study has important implications for our understanding and support of parenting in the 21st century. For instance, this study was the first, to our knowledge, to find associations between parental critical consciousness dimensions and parental RES (content and competency). Understanding (and potentially facilitating) critical consciousness in parents of color has implications for their delivery of RES content and their feelings and cognitions surrounding RES (i.e., competency). The communication of RES content, in turn, has been shown to have implications for youths’ critical consciousness and sociopolitical beliefs (Anyiwo et al. 2018; Mathews et al. 2019). Additionally, more discrimination is associated with membership in the PSF profile, which promotes both traditionally positive and negative messages. As such, it is important to understand not only how discrimination impacts the messages provided to youth, but the ways in which we may be able to assist parents in reframing their experiences to be more beneficial for youth well-being (e.g., Anderson et al. 2018).
Across profiles, understanding what patterns of socialization competency and content exist, as well as understanding what types of parents display which types of patterns, are important steps in helping parents feel efficacious in their ability to socialize their children and supporting parents to socialize their children in ways that contribute towards positive adaptation and well-being. Interventions which consider RES practices (e.g., BPSS; Coard et al. 2007; PLAAY: Stevenson 2002) and competency in particular (e.g., EMBRace; Anderson et al. 2018) can work to support parents of varying ethnic and racial groups in frequently engaging in competent practices that help support child psychosocial growth. For instance, families with LPSLF may particularly benefit from increasing parents’ confidence and skills around delivery of RES; this increase in competence may facilitate greater delivery of RES messages, which have been shown to have positive effects on children’s psychosocial functioning and development (Umaña-Taylor and Hill 2020). Additionally, PSF parents may benefit from interventions that help them process the frequent racial discrimination experiences they have suffered during their lives and help—if not reduce the stress surrounding the delivery of RES messages—improve their management of RES-related stress. Increasing parents’ ability to manage RES-related stress and working through one’s past discrimination experiences may be helpful in ultimately reducing the frequency of generally less helpful RES messages, such as frequent administration of promotion of mistrust messages. Our person-centered approach suggests that interventions might be most effective if tailored to parents’ specific needs or backgrounds. Ultimately, and regardless of parents’ profile membership, policies which focus on mental health and child wellness at large may consider how to integrate these findings to promote psychoeducation and programming around discrimination reduction, family-based coping strategies, and balanced delivery of RES messages.

6. Conclusions

Parenting in the 21st century involves navigating myriad novel challenges and challenges that parents have been faced with throughout time. One unique challenge for parents of color is socializing their children around the meaning and importance of race/ethnicity, teaching them the sobering reality that they will face interpersonal and systemic racism, and instilling in them coping skills to effectively manage racism and discrimination. It has become more widely understood that researchers should not only be examining the content of RES messages, but also examining how these messages co-occur with parents’ perceived competence around RES. To address this, our study examined patterns of RES competency and content in a sample of Black, Latinx, and Asian parents, finding evidence for three unique profiles. We observed many differences between profiles in sociodemographic factors such as race, age, and nativity status, and observed that parents’ lifetime exposure to discrimination has implications for their current pattern of perceived RES competence and socialization content. Finally, one’s pattern of competence and content was also concurrently associated with parents’ understanding of societal inequities, as well as their motivation and actions aimed at reducing these inequities. This study provides a much-needed snapshot of RES competency and content in the 21st century, detailing what parents are saying, how they feel about what they are saying, and the factors and experiences associated with parents’ patterns of RES competency and content.

Supplementary Materials

The following are available online at, Table S1: Means and Correlations Among all Study Variables, Table S2: Unstandardized Means by Profile.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, N.K.C., G.L.S., N.C.J. and N.A.; methodology, N.K.C.; formal analysis, N.K.C.; writing—original draft preparation, N.K.C., G.L.S., L.K., N.C.J., H.C.S. and R.E.A.; writing—review and editing, N.K.C., G.L.S., L.K., N.C.J., S.C.T.J., H.C.S., N.A. and R.E.A. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and approved by the Institutional Review Board of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (protocol code 20-0361 on 07/06/2020).

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Data from this study were not made available for public use.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


From here on and throughout the paper, when we refer to the content of RES, we are referring to the frequency with which parents communicate different types of messages (i.e., messages with different substantive content) to their children.


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Figure 1. Standardized socialization competency and content profiles (n = 585).
Figure 1. Standardized socialization competency and content profiles (n = 585).
Socsci 11 00088 g001
Table 1. Model fit indices for competing latent profile models (n = 585).
Table 1. Model fit indices for competing latent profile models (n = 585).
ProfilesAICBICSample Size Adjusted BICLRT (p)Entropy
215,632.5915,768.1115,669.69963.33 (<0.001)0.87
315,168.5615,352.1715,218.83479.19 (0.049)0.88
414,837.0115,068.7014,900.45348.58 (0.091)0.88
514,626.6014,906.3814,703.20229.14 (0.427)0.86
Note. Final profile solution is in bold. AIC = Akaike Information Criterion. BIC = Bayesian Information Criterion. LRT = Lo-Mendel Rubin Likelihood Ratio Test.
Table 2. Mean-level profile differences.
Table 2. Mean-level profile differences.
Parental Variables LPSLF
n = 285
n = 204
n = 96
Differencesχ2 (p)
M (S.E.)M (S.E.)M (S.E.)
Income4.139 (0.147)3.965 (0.166)4.034 (0.276)None-
Education4.528 (0.101)4.481 (0.108)4.359 (0.174)None-
Age43.94 (0.52)46.09 (0.75)42.61 (0.96)PLSF > LPSLF
5.30 (0.021)
7.90 (0.005)
Male41.9% (0.031)40.2% (0.036)35.9% (0.055)None-
U.S. Born54.4% (0.031)74.2% (0.032)67.7% (0.054)PLSF > LPSLF
18.742 (<0.001)
4.228 (0.040)
Latinx29.6% (0.029)34.5% (0.035)34.8% (0.054)None-
Asian44.1% (0.031)22.4% (0.031)23.3% (0.049)PLSF < LPSLF
23.179 (<0.001)
11.737 (0.001)
Critical Reflection4.003 (0.070)4.179 (0.102)4.643 (0.150)PLSF < PSF
6.346 (0.012)
13.869 (<0.001)
Critical Motivation4.294 (0.061) 5.146 (0.072)5.327 (0.102)PLSF > LPSLF
78.742 (<0.001)
69.736 (<0.001)
Critical Action1.868 (0.068)1.666 (0.074)2.342 (0.165)PLSF < LPSLF
3.834 (0.050)
13.658 (<0.001)
6.595 (0.010)
Lifetime Discrimination2.453 (0.064)2.447 (0.075)3.096 (0.134)PLSF < PSF
17.289 (<0.001)
17.375 (<0.001)
Youth Variables
Age14.04 (0.16)14.52 (0.18)14.59 (0.28)PLSF > LPSLF4.06 (0.044)
Male53.9% (0.031)42.7% (0.036)52.1% (0.057)PLSF < LPSLF5.314 (0.021)
Note: LPSLF = Less Prepared Stressed Low Frequency. PLSF = Prepared Low Stress Frequent. PSF = Prepared Stressed Frequent.
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Christophe, N.K.; Stein, G.L.; Kiang, L.; Johnson, N.C.; Jones, S.C.T.; Stevenson, H.C.; Anyiwo, N.; Anderson, R.E. A 21st Century Take on Racial-Ethnic Socialization: Patterns of Competency and Content among Diverse Parents of Color. Soc. Sci. 2022, 11, 88.

AMA Style

Christophe NK, Stein GL, Kiang L, Johnson NC, Jones SCT, Stevenson HC, Anyiwo N, Anderson RE. A 21st Century Take on Racial-Ethnic Socialization: Patterns of Competency and Content among Diverse Parents of Color. Social Sciences. 2022; 11(2):88.

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Christophe, N. Keita, Gabriela Livas Stein, Lisa Kiang, Natasha C. Johnson, Shawn C. T. Jones, Howard C. Stevenson, Nkemka Anyiwo, and Riana E. Anderson. 2022. "A 21st Century Take on Racial-Ethnic Socialization: Patterns of Competency and Content among Diverse Parents of Color" Social Sciences 11, no. 2: 88.

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