Family Socioeconomic Status and Ethnicity, Acculturation and Enculturation, and Parent Beliefs about Child Behavior, Learning Methods, and Parenting Roles

Carl J. Dunst, Deborah W. Hamby, Melinda Raab, Mary Beth Bruder


Relationships between family socioeconomic status and ethnicity, acculturation and enculturation, and parent beliefs about desired child behavior, child learning methods, and parenting roles in children’s learning desired behavior were examined in a study of 207 parents of preschoolers from seven ethnic and cultural groups. Different subgroups of participants were identified from patterns of acculturation and enculturation. Family ethnicity, family SES, and acculturation were differentially related to the parent beliefs whereas enculturation and combinations of acculturation and enculturation were unrelated to beliefs. Findings are discussed in terms of the high degree of specificity in the relationships between the predictor variables and parent beliefs about child behavior, learning methods, and parenting roles. The results are consistent with an individual-oriented concept of culture. Cautions are therefore raised in terms of overgeneralizations about attributing traditional beliefs broadly to families from the same ethnic or cultural group.

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