Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 1141–1155 | Cite as

Racial Socialization, Racial Identity, and Academic Attitudes Among African American Adolescents: Examining the Moderating Influence of Parent–Adolescent Communication

  • Sandra TangEmail author
  • Vonnie C. McLoyd
  • Samantha K. Hallman
Empirical Research


A significant gap remains in our understanding of the conditions under which parents’ racial socialization has consequences for adolescents’ functioning. The present study used longitudinal data to examine whether the frequency of communication between African American parents and adolescents (N = 504; 49 % female) moderates the association between parent reports of racial socialization (i.e., cultural socialization and preparation for bias) at 8th grade and adolescent reports of racial identity (perceived structural discrimination, negative public regard, success-oriented centrality) at 11th grade, and in turn, academic attitudes and perceptions. Parents’ racial socialization practices were significant predictors of multiple aspects of adolescents’ racial identity in families with high levels of communication, but they did not predict any aspects of adolescents’ racial identity in families with low levels of communication. Results highlight the importance of including family processes when examining the relations between parents’ racial socialization and adolescents’ racial identity and academic attitudes and perceptions.


Racial socialization Racial identity Parent–child communication Adolescence 



Support for this article was provided in part by Award Number T32HD007109 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development awarded to the first author.

Authors’ Contributions

ST conceived of the study, participated in designing the study, performed the statistical analyses, and participated in the write up of the manuscript. VCM conceived of the study, and assisted in designing the study and writing the manuscript. SKH conceived of the study, and participated in designing the study and writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of this manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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