Latino Adolescents’ Understandings of Good Parent–Adolescent Relationships: Common Themes and Subtle Differences

  • Lisa J. Crockett
  • Stephen T. Russell
Part of the Advances in Immigrant Family Research book series (ADIMFAMRES)


Parenting and parent–child relationships have emerged as central determinants of adolescents’ psychological well-being and adjustment (Parke & Buriel, 2006). In general, children who perceive their parents as warm and caring and who report good relationships with them have better psychological well-being and adjustment compared to youth who report troubled relationships with parents (Barber, Stolz, & Olsen, 2005). Although the general pattern of findings is compelling, the literature to date is limited in at least two ways. First, few studies have attempted to uncover how adolescents define good relationships with parents, despite the likelihood that adolescents’ subjective appraisals of parental behavior are critical to their well-being (Rohner, 2004). Instead, most studies employ questionnaire measures based on adults’ notions of what constitutes warm, supportive parenting. As a consequence, we know surprisingly little about how adolescents conceptualize good relationships with parents. Second, much of the research on parent–adolescent relationships has been Eurocentric, drawing on notions of good parenting common among European Americans. Yet, as several critiques have noted (e.g., Chao, 1994; Russell, Crockett, & Chao, 2010), notions of good parenting in other cultural groups may include additional concepts and responsibilities which need to be considered to understand parenting in those groups. Of particular relevance to this chapter, cultural values may create a frame of reference that children use to interpret parental behaviors. Thus, to understand parent–adolescent relationships and their effects in Latino families, it is necessary to determine which features of relationships and parental behaviors are salient within these groups.


Parental Behavior Child Relationship Good Relationship Adolescent Relationship Latino Family 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was funded by grant HD R01039438 from NICHD to L. Crockett and S. Russell. We would like to thank the focus group facilitators and the participating adolescents. Portions of this paper were presented at a conference, “On New Shores,” Guelph, Ontario, November 5–6, 2008. Correspondence should be directed to Lisa J. Crockett, Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68588-0308,

Several of the quotes included in this chapter were initially published in articles that appeared in The Journal of Research on Adolescence (Society for Research on Adolescence) and Sex Roles (Springer) and are reproduced with permission (Crockett et al., 2007; Crockett et al., 2009).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Division of Family Studies and Human Development, Norton School of Family and Consumer SciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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