Discussions About Racial and Ethnic Differences in Internationally Adoptive Families: Links With Family Engagement, Warmth, & Control

Kayla N. Anderson, Martha A Rueter, Rich Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Discussions about racial and ethnic differences may allow international, transracial adoptive families to construct multiracial and/or multi-ethnic family identities. However, little is known about the ways family communication influences how discussions about racial and ethnic differences occur. This study examined associations between observed family communication constructs, including engagement, warmth, and control, and how adoptive families discuss racial and ethnic differences using a sample of families with adolescent-aged children adopted internationally from South Korea (N = 111 families, 222 adolescents). Using data collected during mid-adolescence and again during late adolescence, higher levels of maternal control and positive adolescent engagement were independently associated with a greater likelihood that family members acknowledged the importance of racial and ethnic differences and constructed a multiracial and/or multi-ethnic family identity. Adolescent engagement was also related to a greater likelihood that family members disagreed about the importance of racial and ethnic differences, and did not build a cohesive identity about differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-308
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family Communication
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015

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