Research conducted in the United States shows that Black adolescent girls have higher self-esteem and, to a lesser extent, a higher sense of control than White girls. However, few studies conducted with representative samples of Black and White girls systematically examine why Black girls may have higher self-esteem and sense of control. Drawing on Black feminist thought, we posit that Black mothers’ socialization of their daughters may explain Black girls’ higher self-esteem and sense of control. Using survey data collected in 1994 from a nationally representative sample of U.S. Black (N = 1,330) and White (N = 3,797) girls and their mothers, we examine racial differences across two key components of the self-concept: self-esteem and sense of control. We ask: 1) Do Black girls have higher self-esteem and sense of control than White girls? 2) Do Black girls have more positive relationships with their mothers and receive more encouragement of academic achievement and independence from their mothers than White girls? and 3) Do more positive mother-daughter relationships and mothers’ encouragement help to explain Black girls’ higher self-esteem and sense of control in comparison to White girls? Findings indicate that Black girls have higher self-esteem and sense of control than White girls, and Black mothers’ relationship with their daughters and stronger encouragement of daughters’ independence in part explain race differences in self-evaluations.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 16, 2013
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