Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 595–605 | Cite as

Racial/Ethnic Socialization and Parental Involvement in Education as Predictors of Cognitive Ability and Achievement in African American Children

  • Meeta Banerjee
  • Zaje A. T. Harrell
  • Deborah J. Johnson
Empirical Research


Racial/ethnic socialization has not been studied in the context of other parenting behaviors such as parental involvement in education and its relationship to children’s cognitive outcomes. The present study tested the impact of racial/ethnic socialization and parental involvement in education on cognitive ability and achievement in a sample of African American youth. Two dimensions of racial/ethnic socialization, cultural exposure (i.e., exposure to diverse cultures) and cultural socialization (i.e., in-group pride), were examined in a sample of 92 African American mother–child dyads, of which 50% were female. Maternal reports of involvement during their child’s 5th grade year were examined as a moderator in the relationship between racial/ethnic socialization and cognitive ability and achievement. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that mothers’ reports of cultural exposure messages measured in 4th grade predicted children’s scores on 5th grade assessments of passage comprehension. There was also a significant interaction indicating that greater cultural exposure and more parental involvement in education predicted better reading passage comprehension scores over time. The implications for assessing dimensions relevant to cognitive ability and achievement in African American children are discussed.


Racial/ethnic socialization Cultural socialization Parent involvement Cognitive ability Achievement African Americans Children 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Isis Settles, Dr. NiCole Buchanan, Krystle Woods, Stevie Yap and Nkiru Nnawulezi for their feedback on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meeta Banerjee
    • 1
  • Zaje A. T. Harrell
    • 1
  • Deborah J. Johnson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Ecological Community PsychologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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