Racial and Ethnic Differences in Parent-Child Relationships: Does Mixed-Race Matter?

Holly Heard, Rice University
Jenifer Bratter, University of Houston

We investigate the association of race and ethnicity, and racial mixture, with parent-child relationships. Using data from Wave I of Add Health, we examine 8,327 adolescents in two-biological parent families who also had a parent interviewed. We examine racial mixture at the couple level (whether the parental couple is mixed-race) and at the individual level (whether the father, mother, or adolescent are multiracial). A contribution is the diversity of our parent-child relationship measures. We examine closeness, activities, communication, and educational aspirations from both mother and father, and parent-level indicators of parental control and social closure. We pose three research questions: First, are there differences in the level of parental involvement between racially mixed households and racially homogenous households? Second, do these differences persist over all types of racial mixture? Finally, do the patterns of parental involvement imply differences in the degree of mother’s involvement relative to fathers?

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Presented in Session 119: Alternative Measurement of Race and Ethnicity