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24-11-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2019

Social Capital, Parenting, and African American Families

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2019
Auteurs:
Andrea G. Hunter, Selma Chipenda-Dansokho, Shuntay Z. Tarver, Melvin Herring, Anne Fletcher

Abstract

African American parents and children are embedded within diverse social networks that cut across social contexts. Using a concurrent mixed-method approach, this study explored mechanisms through which kinship- and community-based social capital (i.e., intergenerational closure) may be associated with children’s own competences at accessing social capital, as well as mothers’ perspectives on the social-relational processes adhered in intergenerational closure, and on its importance for parenting and socialization goals. Third-grade children (N = 149) and their mothers participated in structured home interviews, and a subsample of mothers (n = 10) participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews. Path analysis (LISREL) indicated that kinship-based intergenerational closure was positively associated with communication between mothers and children (e.g., peers and friendships, importance of talking, life lessons) which was positively associated with children’s self-efficacy in accessing intergenerational social resources (i.e., from adults). Community-based intergenerational closure was positively associated with parental community engagement. Parents involved in community organizations engaged in more parent-to-parent communication regarding parenting and childrearing issues. Greater communication between parents was positively associated with children’s self-efficacy. Qualitative analyses indicated that mothers cultivated intergenerational closure across social contexts, that supported parenting and reinforced values, norms, and socialization goals, relying on network processes as theorized by James Coleman. This study highlights the mechanisms that link kinship- and community-based social capital to child social competences, as well as African American mothers’ perspectives on the meanings of social relationships when there is intergenerational closure. Moreover, the study illustrates the applicability of Coleman’s theory among economically diverse, southern, African American families.

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