Contextual Moderators of a School-Based Ethnic-Racial Identity Intervention: The Roles of Family Ethnic Socialization and Ethnic-Racial Background

Michael R. Sladek, Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Kristia A. Wantchekon, Elana R. McDermott, Kimberly A. Updegraff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ethnic-racial identity (ERI) formation is a key developmental competency that contributes to adolescents’ sense of self and psychosocial adjustment. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) has demonstrated the efficacy of a universal school-based health promotion intervention program to positively influence adolescents’ ERI exploration and ERI resolution, compared to an attention control curriculum that was delivered by the same facilitators, had equivalent contact hours, and focused on post-secondary career and educational options. The current study extended prior tests of the RCT to better understand (a) how intervention-based ERI changes unfolded over two phases—temporally proximal pre- to post-test effects and long-term post-test effects across a 1-year follow-up period, and (b) identify for whom the intervention was more effective by testing theorized contextual moderators—baseline family ethnic socialization practices and youth ethnic-racial background (i.e., White majority vs. ethnic-racial minority). Bilinear spline growth models were used to examine longitudinal ERI trajectories in intervention and control groups across four survey assessments (baseline, 12 weeks, 18 weeks, 67 weeks; N = 215; Mage = 15.02; 49.1% female; 62.6% ethnic-racial minority). In support of an additive effect for the role of families in school-based interventions, post-test ERI exploration significantly increased (relative to the control group) to a greater extent for youth with higher (compared to lower) baseline levels of family ethnic socialization. ERI resolution significantly increased from pre- to post-test for ethnic-racial minority youth and also increased across the 1-year follow-up period for White youth in the intervention. These results highlight family ethnic socialization as a developmental asset for school-based ERI interventions and demonstrate differential pathways by which such interventions support ERI development for ethnic-racial minority and majority adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-385
Number of pages8
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Adolescents
  • Ethnicity
  • Family socialization
  • Identity
  • Intervention
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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