Parental Influences on Children’s Ethnic Identity Development


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Institute for Promoting Research & Policy Development


Parental influences on children’s ethnic identity among middle-income Korean-American families (N = 52), including fathers, mothers, and their children were examined. The sample was comprised of 23 boys and 29 girls (M = 7 years and 3 months) and their parents. Mothers and fathers were asked to respond independently to a parent's ethnic identity questionnaire; children were interviewed using a children’s ethnic identity questionnaire. Results revealed the most important predictors of children’s ethnic identity were parental teaching behaviors regarding Korean culture and history. Among the three domains in children’s ethnic identity, Korean language fluency was most affected by parental ethnic identity variables. Results indicated that mothers and fathers generally share the same attitudes toward ethnic matters; thus, it was concluded that children receive a congruent ethnic message from their parents.



Ethnic Identity, Parental Influences, Korean-American, Immigrant Families