The Role of Parents in Reducing Academic, Health, and Behavioral Problems for Native American, African American, and Latinx Adolescents

Robert H. Bradley, Crystal I. Bryce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of the study was to determine how parental modeling of thoughtful behavior and the home physical environment may reduce the number of developmental problems exhibited by Native American, African American, and Latinx adolescents. Method: Demographic and home environmental data were collected from 54 Native American, 131 African American, and 159 Latinx families living in 4 states as part of a home visit. Parents and adolescents were administered surveys that captured adolescent health, social skills, problem behavior, self-efficacy beliefs, vocabulary attainment, and school grades. Scores from the surveys were combined to construct both an adolescent problems index and a household risk index. For each of the 3 racial/ethnic groups examined, the adolescent problems index was regressed on parental modeling and encouragement of mature behavior, the home physical environment, and the household risk index. Results: Modeling and encouragement of mature behavior was a significant bivariate predictor of overall problems in all 3 groups of adolescents-albeit the overall regression model was nonsignificant for Native Americans. By contrast, the other 2 predictors were nonsignificant in regression models for all 3 groups. Conclusion: Native American, African American, and Latinx adolescents often face a multitude of risks, including poverty and discrimination. As a consequence, adolescents from these 3 racial/ethnic groups frequently display problems pertaining to health, competence, and adaptive behavior. The results from this study suggest that adolescents from such demographic groups are less likely to manifest developmental problems if their parents model mature behavior and encourage the adolescent to act in thoughtful ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-733
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent health
  • Home environment
  • Parenting
  • Problem behavior
  • Racial/ethnic minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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