In collaboration with colleagues from University of Kentucky and State University of New York at Oswego, Dr. Jamie Alexander recently co-authored an article on maternal closeness, kinship ties, and future orientation among rural African American youth. The article appears in the journal Journal of Adolescence
Maternal closeness, kinship ties, and future orientation among rural African American youth: The mediating role of ethnic identity
Few studies have considered the importance of kin or extended family relationships on future orientation. Additionally, some of the underlying processes linking social bonds to future orientation remain poorly understood. Based on theoretical work focused on attachment and identity, this study tested the potential mediating effects of ethnic identity on the links between close relationships (maternal closeness and kinship ties) and future orientation over time. Specifically, the study tested the extent to which ethnic identity mediated the relationship between maternal closeness and future orientation, and the relationship between kinship ties and future orientation. In addition, it tested whether sex moderated the relationships between maternal closeness/kinship ties and future orientation measures (education and career) as well as between ethnic identity and future orientation measures.
Self-report data were collected twice, approximately 6 months apart, during a school year from a sample of rural African American adolescents (n = 274, Mage = 14.81, SD = 1.48).
Findings provided evidence of mediation effects by ethnic identity on the relationships between maternal closeness and future orientation measures, and the link between kinship ties and future orientation measures. In addition, sex moderated the associations between ethnic identity and future education orientation as well as between maternal closeness and future education orientation; no moderation effects were found for the links with future career orientation measures.
Maternal closeness and kinship ties appear to be critical for supporting ethnic identity and for developing educational and career future orientation among rural African American youth.