Challenges to the study of African American parenting: conceptualization, sampling, research approaches, measurement, and design

Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Rahil D. Briggs, Sandra G. McClowry, David L. Snow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

42 Scopus citations


Objective. The primary purpose of this review is to highlight methodological challenges to the study of African American parenting. Over the past two decades, research on African American parenting has burgeoned, and attempts have been made to address the shortcomings of prior work in this area. Recent studies have shed new light on the heterogeneity of African American parenting and help to identify promising directions for future research. Design. In this paper, we overview research on African American parenting, with emphasis on studies conducted over the past two decades. We discuss challenges, strengths, and gaps in the areas of conceptualization, sampling, research approaches, measurement, and design. Results and Conclusions. Great strides have been made in the methodological rigor of studies on African American parenting which have yielded a more complex understanding of parenting practices and outcomes in this population. Future research should attend to variation in the nature and influences of parenting across different subgroups of the African American population. Additionally, researchers should increasingly rely on multiple methodologies (e.g., surveys, observations, qualitative interviews); ground the measurement of parenting in the experiences of African American populations; and examine patterns within a developmental context. These research directions promise to yield new findings on processes that are unique to African American families, as well as highlight those that are common to parents across racial and ethnic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-358
Number of pages40
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 5 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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