Ethnic Cultural Features in Organized Activities: Relations to Latino Adolescents’ Activity Experiences and Parental Involvement

Abstract

Cultural responsiveness is a key aspect of the quality of organized activities, yet has rarely been examined. Based on developmental theories and a theoretical framework for culturally responsive activities, the current study investigated the prevalence and correlates of two ethnic cultural features (i.e., ethnic cultural content & ethnic cultural respect) in organized activities. Using data from 154 Latino adolescents (Mage = 12.36, SD = .53; 59% Female) and parents, we examined associations between adolescent perceptions of both ethnic cultural features and their activity experiences; and associations between parent perceptions of both ethnic cultural features and parental involvement in the activity. Latino adolescents and parents in general perceived lower than average ethnic cultural content and moderate to high ethnic cultural respect in the reported activity. Both adolescents and parents were more likely to perceive ethnic cultural content and respect in activities where Latino youth were the numerical ethnic majority than in activities where Latino youth were the numerical ethnic minority. Latino adolescents’ perceptions of ethnic cultural respect were associated with more positive activity experiences, whereas their perceptions of ethnic cultural content were associated with more negative feelings. Latino parents’ perceptions of ethnic cultural content predicted higher involvement. To design culturally responsive activities, ethnic cultural features should be incorporated in a thoughtful, meaningful way that reflects both adolescents’ and parents’ perspectives.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In each of the activity category, we included multiple kinds of activities. Specifically, sports included cross country, volleyball, softball, soccer, track, baseball, and wrestling. Arts activities included band, orchestra, choir, and drama club. Club activities included wake up club (civic awareness club), student council, book club, yearbook, newspaper club, and “we the people” (a civic club to study American government). Community activities included any activity located in community (e.g., golf in community, Boys & Girls club in community, community religious classes).

  2. 2.

    Though positive feeling was not included in regression analyses as an individual outcome, adolescent perception of ethnic cultural respect predicted more positive feelings (β = .29, SE = .09, p < .01).

  3. 3.

    For both adolescent and parent models, interaction between perceptions of ethnic cultural content and respect was examined. However, only one interaction was statistically significant: The model with perceived peer discrimination as the outcome variable (β = −.20, SE = .06, p < .05). The follow-up simple slope analysis on this interaction suggested that perceived ethnic cultural content was associated with more perceived peer discrimination when perceived ethnic cultural respect was below sample mean.

  4. 4.

    We have reported all analyses in the current manuscript. Detailed information is available from the first author on all analyses.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Drs. Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Gilberto Conchas, and Deborah Vandell for their invaluable feedback on the earlier drafts of the manuscript.

Authors’ Contributions

Y.L. conceived of the study, carried out data analysis, and drafted the manuscript; S.S. helped conceptualize and design the study, interpreted the results, and contributed to writing of the manuscript. A.L. helped with data analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

The current study was supported by a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation (181735).

Data Sharing Declaration

This manuscript’s data will not be deposited but are available from the research team on reasonable request.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yangyang Liu.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures adhered to the APA and the institutional IRB ethical standards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained for all participants in the study.

Appendix: Items Included in Measures

Appendix: Items Included in Measures

Adolescent perceptions of ethnic cultural features

Content

To what extent do you agree or disagree (0 = strongly disagree; 1 = disagree; 2 = in the middle; 3 = agree; 4 =strongly agree) with the following statements about (THE ACTIVITY).

  1. 1.

    The activity leaders teach me about my ethnic or cultural background.

  2. 2.

    At the after-school activity, I hang out with other teens who share the same ethnic background as me.

  3. 3.

    At the after-school activity, we do things that are related to my ethnic group or cultural background.

  4. 4.

    At the after-school activity, the activity room or space is decorated with things that reflect my ethnic or cultural background.

Respect

To what extent do you agree or disagree (0 = strongly disagree; 1 = disagree; 2 = in the middle; 3 = agree; 4 =strongly agree) with the following statements about (THE ACTIVITY).

  1. 1.

    The activity leaders are flexible when I have family obligations or events related to my ethnic or cultural background.

  2. 2.

    The organized activity has leader who understand my ethnic or cultural background.

  3. 3.

    The organized activity is a place where people respect my ethnic or cultural background.

Parent perceptions of ethnic cultural features

Content

To what extent do you agree or disagree (0 = strongly disagree; 1 = disagree; 2 = in the middle; 3 = agree; 4 =strongly agree) with the following statements about (THE ACTIVITY).

  1. 1.

    The activity leaders teach my teenager about his/her ethnic or cultural background.

  2. 2.

    The organized activity has other teens who share the same ethnic background as my teenager.

  3. 3.

    The organized activity is a place where they do things that are related to my teenager’s ethnic group or cultural background.

  4. 4.

    At the after-school activity, the activity room or space is decorated with things that reflect my teenager’s ethnic or cultural background.

Respect

To what extent do you agree or disagree (0 = strongly disagree; 1 = disagree; 2 = in the middle; 3 = agree; 4 =strongly agree) with the following statements about (THE ACTIVITY).

  1. 1.

    The leaders respect when my teenager has family obligations or events related to his/her ethnic or cultural background.

  2. 2.

    The organized activity has leaders who understand my teenager’s ethnic or cultural background.

  3. 3.

    The organized activity is a place where people respect my teenager’s ethnic or cultural background.

Positive and negative feelings in activity

Positive feelings

Teenagers say they feel many different emotions when they are at activities. Tell me how often (0 = never, 1 = almost never, 2 = sometimes, 3 = usually, 4 = always)

  1. 1.

    you feel happy when you are at the activity.

  2. 2.

    you feel relaxed when you are at the activity.

  3. 3.

    you feel proud when you are at the activity.

Negative feelings

Teenagers say they feel many different emotions when they are at activities. Tell me how often (0 = never, 1 = almost never, 2 = sometimes, 3 = usually, 4 = always)

  1. 1.

    you feel scared when you are at the activity.

  2. 2.

    you feel bored when you are at the activity.

  3. 3.

    you feel angry when you are at the activity.

  4. 4.

    you feel sad when you are at the activity.

  5. 5.

    you feel lonely when you are at the activity.

  6. 6.

    you feel worried when you are at the activity.

  7. 7.

    you feel stressed when you are at the activity.

Psychological engagement in activity

Tell me how much you agree (0 = strongly disagree, 1 = disagree, 2 = in the middle, 3 = agree, 4 = strongly agree) with each of the following statement about when you are doing (THE ACTIVITY).

  1. 1.

    There are always things I’m trying to work on and achieve in this activity.

  2. 2.

    I feel challenged in a good way in this activity.

  3. 3.

    What we do in this activity is boring.

  4. 4.

    I’m not working toward anything in this activity.

  5. 5.

    What we do in this activity is both difficult and enjoyable.

  6. 6.

    The goals people are working on in this activity are not important to me.

Perceived discrimination in activity

Leader

To what extent do you agree or disagree (0 = strongly disagree; 1 = disagree; 2 = in the middle; 3 = agree; 4 =strongly agree) with the following statements about (THE ACTIVITY).

  1. 1.

    The leaders at the organized activity have negative beliefs about your ethnicity that affect the way they treat you.

  2. 2.

    The leaders at the organized activity would not interact with you as much as others because of your ethnicity.

  3. 3.

    The leaders at the organized activity would call you names because of your ethnicity.

  4. 4.

    The leaders at the organized activity would assume you aren’t as smart or good at activity because of your ethnicity.

  5. 5.

    The leaders at the organized activity would treat you badly because of your ethnicity.

Peer

To what extent do you agree or disagree (0 = strongly disagree; 1 = disagree; 2 = in the middle; 3 = agree; 4 =strongly agree) with the following statements about (THE ACTIVITY).

  1. 1.

    The kids at the organized activity have negative beliefs about your ethnicity that affect the way they treat you.

  2. 2.

    The kids at the organized activity would exclude you from things they do outside the activity (like not invite you to go out with them, not invite you to their houses or not let you join their games) because of your ethnicity.

  3. 3.

    The kids at the organized activity would call you names because of your ethnicity.

  4. 4.

    The kids at the organized activity would assume you aren’t as smart or good at activity because of your ethnicity.

  5. 5.

    The kids at the organized activity would not hangout with you at activity because of your ethnicity.

  6. 6.

    The kids at the organized activity would treat you badly because of your ethnicity.

Parental involvement in organized after-school activities

Instrumental support

How often (0 = never, 1 = almost never, 2 = sometimes, 3 = usually, 4 = always) do you and your (partner/spouse),

  1. 1.

    Buy supplies related to activity.

  2. 2.

    Practice with teenager or help teenager.

  3. 3.

    Give or offer rewards for good performance.

  4. 4.

    Make sure teenager spend time on this activity at home like practicing.

  5. 5.

    Take teenager to related events such as a sporting event or concert.

  6. 6.

    Make sure teenager gets to the games, practices, lessons or performances.

  7. 7.

    Attend events for teenager’s activity.

Verbal encouragement

How often (0 = never, 1 = almost never, 2 = sometimes, 3 = usually, 4 = always) do you and your (partner/spouse),

  1. 1.

    Tell teenager that he/she is good at this activity.

  2. 2.

    Praise teenager for working hard in this activity.

  3. 3.

    Encourage teenager to work with friends or family members who are good at this activity.

  4. 4.

    Talk with teenager about how well you think he/she did and why.

  5. 5.

    Tell teenager how important being good in this activity will be for his/her future.

  6. 6.

    Say you enjoy this activity.

  7. 7.

    Talk to teenager about this activity.

  8. 8.

    Show interest in what was happening at teenager’s activity like asking about what he/she did.

Connection with activity

How often (0 = never, 1 = almost never, 2 = sometimes, 3 = usually, 4 = always) do you and your (partner/spouse),

  1. 1.

    Talk with teenager’s activity leader.

  2. 2.

    Participate as a volunteer or leader at teenager’s activity.

Activity participant ethnic composition

How many of the teenagers at the activity are Mexican or Latino (0 = none, 1 = less than half, 2 = about half, 3 = more than half, 4 = all of them)?

Activity leader ethnic composition

How many of the leaders at the activity are Mexican or Latino (0 = none, 1 = less than half, 2 = about half, 3 = more than half, 4 = all of them)?

Activity outreach to parents

Since activity started, how often (0 = never, 1 = 1 time, 2 = 23 times, 3 = about once a week, 4 = more than once a week) have you

  1. 1.

    Received informational materials from the activity.

  2. 2.

    Received an invitation to attend activity events.

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Liu, Y., Simpkins, S.D. & Lin, A.R. Ethnic Cultural Features in Organized Activities: Relations to Latino Adolescents’ Activity Experiences and Parental Involvement. J Youth Adolescence 47, 2243–2260 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0839-0

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Keywords

  • Organized activities
  • After-school activities
  • Latino
  • Culturally responsive
  • Engagement
  • Parental involvement