Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 334–350 | Cite as

The Role of Parental Language Acculturation in the Formation of Social Capital: Differential Effects on High-risk Children

  • Carmen R. Valdez
  • Monique T. Mills
  • Amanda J. Bohlig
  • David Kaplan
Original Article


This person-centered study examines the extent to which parents’ language dominance influences the effects of an after school, multi-family group intervention, FAST, on low-income children’s emotional and behavioral outcomes via parents’ relations with other parents and with school staff. Social capital resides in relationships of trust and shared expectations, which are highly dependent on whether parents share the language of other parents and teachers. This study is based on a community epidemiologically-defined sample of Latino families (N = 3,091) in San Antonio, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. Latent profile analyses revealed three language profiles of parents across the two cities: English-dominant, Spanish-dominant, and bilingual. Path models revealed that FAST did not have a direct or indirect effect on children’s emotional and behavior functioning, although FAST increased parent–parent and parent-school social capital among Spanish-dominant parents in Arizona and these parent–parent relations were associated with better child outcomes. Implications for interventions are discussed.


Acculturation Language Social capital Behavior problems FAST 



We thank Lynn McDonald and Adam Gamoran for reading earlier drafts of this paper. We would also like to express our appreciation to the families who participated in the Families and Schools Project. Research funded by R01HD051762-01A2 (Adam Gamoran) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen R. Valdez
    • 1
  • Monique T. Mills
    • 2
  • Amanda J. Bohlig
    • 1
  • David Kaplan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Counseling PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Speech and Hearing SciencesOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Educational Psychology DepartmentUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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