Race and Self Image: How Mothers' Socialization Matters
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For adolescents, having a strong Self is an important component of entering into adulthood successfully. Research suggests that despite living in a society often hostile to them, Black adolescents have Selves that is at least as strong as Whites. Using Add Health data, a nationally representative sample of Black (N=652) and White (N=1592) girls I explore racial differences in self-concepts in U.S. adolescent females. Drawing on Rosenberg's contextual theory and Black Feminist theory, this study posits that black mothers' unique socialization of their daughters may help to explain Black girls' advantaged Selves. Black girls are significantly better off than white girls on measures of the Self, and mothers' socialization may help explain some of the race differences. Black mothers were found to be more supportive, more encouraging of daughters' independence, and to have higher academic aspirations for their daughters. These factors were found to positively influence aspects of daughters' self-concept.