Ethnic-racial discrimination, family ethnic socialization and Latinx children’s emotion competence

  • Stacey N. DoanEmail author
  • Ana K. Marcelo
  • Tuppett M. Yates
Original Research Article


Emotion competence is vital for success in a wide range of domains. Although a large body of research has demonstrated that universal socialization processes, such as parenting, influence children’s emotion competence, few studies have identified risk and protective factors that may also contribute to the development of emotion competence, particularly among children of Latin descent. This study evaluated hypothesized negative relations between Latinx children’s perceived experiences of ethnic-racial discrimination (ERD) and later emotion competence as indexed by children’s emotion knowledge and coping skills. Further, we explored both direct and interactive effects of family ethnic-racial socialization (FES) on Latinx children’s emotion competence in the wake of ERD. Latinx children (N = 100, 44% female) reported on their perceived experiences of ERD at age 7 and parents reported on FES at age 8. Emotion competence was assessed at age 8 using a laboratory assessment of the child’s emotion recognition and labeling skills to index emotion knowledge. Parents reported on children’s positive and maladaptive coping. Latinx children’s perceived experiences of ERD were related to lower levels of emotion knowledge and higher levels of maladaptive coping 1 year later. FES was also associated with higher levels of positive coping. Importantly, FES moderated the effect of ERD on children’s maladaptive coping, but not on children’s emotion knowledge or positive coping. The relation between ERD and maladaptive coping was significant at high FES levels, but not at low FES levels. These findings document the incidence and negative impact of young, Latinx children’s experiences of ERD on their emotion competence and highlight the influence of FES on Latinx children’s emotional development in contexts of ERD.


Coping Ethnic-racial discrimination Emotion knowledge Family ethnic socialization 



This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grants 0951775 and 1628820 awarded to Tuppett M. Yates. The authors are grateful for the support and contributions of the research team who assisted with data collection and coding. We further extend our deepest appreciation to the parents and children who shared their time and experience with us.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesClaremont McKenna CollegeClaremontUSA
  2. 2.Clark UniversityWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.University of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

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