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01-05-2007 | Original Article | Uitgave 4/2007

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2007

Ethnic Differences in Trajectories of Family Cohesion for Mexican American and Non-Hispanic White Adolescents

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 4/2007
Judith C. Baer, Mark F. Schmitz
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Judith C. Baer is an Associate Professor at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Houston. Her major research interests include the study of adolescent development within the contexts of culture, and family, adolescent sexual risk taking, and the nosology of mental disorders.
Mark F. Schmitz is Clinical Assistant Professor at Temple University. He received his Ph.D. in sociology at Iowa State University. His major research interest involves the use of several large epidemiologic datasets for an extensive examination of the empirical basis for the diagnostic criteria of various DSM-IV mental disorders. He also is involved in research on cultural issues in child development and family processes.


This study examined gender, family structure, SES and language usage as predictors of cultural orientation and family cohesion. Ethnic differences in trajectories of family cohesion were tested within a hierarchical linear modeling framework. The sample consisted of 4156 adolescent respondents, measured at three time points during three consecutive years. The three study groups consisted of Mexican Americans oriented to Mexican culture (N = 738), Mexican Americans oriented to majority American culture (N = 867), and Non-Hispanic Whites (N = 2551). Family cohesion was assessed using the cohesion subscale of the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale (FACES III). Analyses consisted of hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) in which a linear trajectory of family cohesion for the three groups was computed followed by a test for the effects of ethnicity with the inclusion of control variables. Thus, ethnic differences in the trajectories of family cohesion over time were examined. Neither group of Mexican Americans was significantly different from Non-Hispanic Whites in initial status. However, Mexican Americans oriented to Mexican culture showed a significant increase in family cohesion at mid adolescence.

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