Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 10, pp 1583–1595 | Cite as

Involved-Vigilant Parenting and Socio-Emotional Well-being Among Black Youth: The Moderating Influence of Natural Mentoring Relationships

  • Noelle M. Hurd
  • Fatima A. Varner
  • Stephanie J. Rowley
Empirical Research


Positive relationships with parents and nonparental adults have the potential to bolster Black adolescents’ socio-emotional well-being. Though each type of intergenerational relationship has been linked to more positive youth outcomes, few studies have examined the interactive influences of parenting and natural mentoring relationships on the socio-emotional development of Black youth. In the current study, we examined associations between involved-vigilant parenting and the psychological well-being and social skills of Black early adolescents (n = 259; 58 % female; mean age = 13.56, SD = .96) across types of natural mentoring relationships. Using K-means cluster analysis, we identified two types of mentoring relationships (less connected and more connected) based on relationship length, involvement, closeness, and frequency of contact. Youth with more connected mentoring relationships (n = 123) had higher psychological well-being and social skills than youth with no mentor (n = 64) or less connected mentors (n = 72). Youth without a natural mentor and youth with less connected mentors did not differ in their levels of social skills or psychological well-being. Structural equation modeling was conducted to determine if associations between involved-vigilant parenting and youths’ psychological well-being and social skills varied among youth with a more connected mentoring relationship in comparison to youth without a mentor or with a less connected mentor, controlling for participants’ gender, age, school, and parental education. The positive associations between involved-vigilant parenting and adolescents’ psychological well-being and social skills were weaker among adolescents with a more connected mentoring relationship in comparison to their peers without or with a less connected mentoring relationship. These results suggest that youth may be more strongly influenced by involved-vigilant parenting in the absence of a strongly connected natural mentoring relationship.


Parenting Natural mentors Black youth Socio-emotional development Early adolescents 



This research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Grant No. 0820309. We thank the youth for participating in this study and the schools for their support. We also thank the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on previous versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noelle M. Hurd
    • 1
  • Fatima A. Varner
    • 2
  • Stephanie J. Rowley
    • 2
  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Black Youth in ContextUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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