Race and Ethnic Differences in Mothering Behaviors: Does Family Structure Matter?
Cynthia A. Osborne, Princeton University
I use data from the Fragile Families Study to determine if mothering behaviors differ across family structures within race and ethnic groups. I examine three domains of mothering behaviors: cognitive stimulation, warmth and responsive behaviors, and spanking for white, black and Hispanic mothers. The results suggest that there are few differences in mothering behaviors across married, cohabiting, visiting, and single-parent families within race and ethnic groups. White mothers have the largest differences in mothering behaviors across family structures. Moreover, for white mothers, education has the largest impact on mothering behaviors, whereas for black mothers, religiosity has the largest effect. For Hispanic mothers, the largest differences in mothering behaviors are between foreign and native born mothers. These results show that cultural differences in mothering are more salient than the benefits of marriage. These findings also suggest that policies aimed at promoting marriage to increase child well-being may have limited success.
Presented in Session 91: Race, Ethnicity, and the Family