Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child Development


Parents who self-identify as members of a community of color engage in practices aimed at teaching their children what it means to be a member of their ethnic-racial group which are called ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) practices. Promoting a positive sense of ethnic-racial identity through ERS contributes to balancing the negative effects of discrimination which can be helpful to children who are part of a marginalized group in the US including Latinx children. However, when the family practices of Latinx families are explored in the literature, various Latinx groups are lumped together. When studying ERS, research should aim to consider Latinx groups individually because the practices parents engage in are grounded in the family’s ethnic-racial group. Moreover, because ethnic-racial identity is considered a task of adolescence, the practices of parents with young children are not often studied despite the benefits of engaging in ERS practices before children reach adolescence. As part of this study, the sociohistorical context for Dominicans in the US was developed, using Garcia-Coll’s Integrative Model as a framework, to inform the research process. This study explored the ERS practices of Dominican mothers with their young children considering the sociohistorical context of Dominicans in the US. This was achieved through a series of three semi-structured phenomenological interviews with six Dominican mothers with children ranging from five to ten years of age. In their narratives, the mothers shared the ERS goals for their children and the concerns they have for how their children will be perceived. Their overall goal was their children share their sense of pride in being Dominican and following traditions. Their concerns highlighted aspects of Dominican culture they did not agree with, such as colorism and machismo, and reflect their concern regarding racism toward people of color in the US. It was apparent that their ERS practices are influenced by a parallel developmental process wherein the mothers’ learning about their own Dominican identity and their development as parents as was parallel with their practices supporting their children’s ethnic-racial development. In terms of their practices, there were two sets of ERS practices presented; those aimed at promoting Dominican culture and those to prepare their children for the bias present within Dominican and US societies. These findings indicate the need for contextualizing research around the sociohistorical features of Dominicans living in the US, as well as a need for those working with Dominican children and families to engage in practices aimed at promoting Dominican culture for children and provide space for storytelling practices as they are culturally relevant while also understanding all Dominicans are not the same.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Available for download on Saturday, June 14, 2025