Cultural socialization in childhood: Analysis of parent–child conversations with a direct observation measure.

Liliana Aguayo*, Iseli G. Hernandez, Miwa Yasui, Ryne Estabrook, Erica L. Anderson, Matthew M. Davis, Margaret J. Briggs-Gowan, Lauren S. Wakschlag, Nia Heard-Garris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cultural factors influence the development of all children. Yet, current knowledge of explicit cultural socialization processes in childhood remains limited, mainly by failing to incorporate the experiences of young children. To address this critical gap, the authors introduce the OMERS-Peds task, an observational measurement designed to systematically identify and compare the content of cultural messages passed down from caregivers to offspring during early school age years. The OMERS-Peds was administered to mothers and children (n = 275) from three diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds (African American (n = 153), Hispanic (n = 61), and non-Hispanic White (n = 61)) within the longitudinal Multidimensional Assessment of Preschoolers (MAPS) Study. The OMERS-Peds coding system was used to rate how strongly families endorsed 5 key constructs: family culture, religion, identity, ethnicity, and race. A series of χ2 statistic tests were used to compare scores across racial/ethnic backgrounds, and within families (between children and their mothers). Analyses revealed that in the cultural socialization conversations occurring in early childhood, parents and children prioritize talking about their family’s culture and religion. Independent of their racial/ethnic backgrounds, mothers and children seldom discussed race and ethnicity. Contrary to research with older children, differences were mainly identified within families, rather than across racial/ethnic groups. Findings support the need to include children’s perspectives in the assessments of cultural socialization, as opposed to relying primarily on parent reports, and highlight the importance of having an observational methodology that allows researchers to examine parent–child bidirectional interactions during early school age years in a systematic manner. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-148
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • cultural socialization
  • direct observation
  • early childhood
  • parent-child
  • school age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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