Culturally-specific parenting and African American adolescent prosocial behavior
African American parenting strategies play an important role in the development of prosocial behavior by facilitating the growth of empathy, self-efficacy, and racial identity. The purpose of the current study was to examine how adolescent-perceived parenting strategies (i.e., parental warmth, parental “hostility”, cultural socialization) clustered into specific parenting styles and how these styles related to positive outcomes. Participants were 358 low-income, urban African American high school students in a southern U.S. city. Cluster analyses revealed four distinct parenting styles (Culturally-Specific Conflict Performance Parenting, Culturally-Specific Parenting, Conflict Interaction Parenting, Culturally Nonspecific Parenting). The features of, and differential outcomes between, styles made both empirical and theoretical sense. Importantly, the findings provide further evidence that Eurocentric norms are inadequate for understanding socialization and behavior development processes in diverse families. Specifically, results indicate that a rethinking of what constitutes “parental hostility” is necessary. Additionally, results from multicategorical mediation analyses indicated that empathy and racial identity are pathways by which parenting style contributes to prosocial behavior in African American youth. Implications of these results and directions for future research and clinical application are discussed.