Parenting infants: socialization goals and behaviors of Italian mothers and immigrant mothers from west Africa

Carra, C., Lavelli, M., Keller, H., & Kärtner, J. (2013). Parenting infants: Socialization goals and behaviors of Italian mothers and immigrant mothers from West Africa. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44, 1304-1320. doi: 10.1177/002202 2113486004

Abstract. This study was aimed at contributing to the understanding of cultural parenting strategies in a context of immigration. Socialization goals (SGs) and parenting behaviors during interaction with 3-month-old infants of first-generation West African immigrant mothers in Italy and autochthonous Italian mothers were compared. The relation between SGs and maternal behaviors within the two groups was also examined. As expected, results showed that West African immigrant mothers placed more emphasis on SGs related to hierarchical relatedness and a proximal parenting style than Italian mothers, who emphasized SGs related to psychological autonomy and a distal parenting style. Although there were no significant differences in the amount of overall vocal/verbal behaviors between the two samples, West African immigrant mothers showed longer durations of rhythmic vocalizing and singing than Italian mothers, who showed more affectionate talking. Compared with the literature on West African parenting strategies, this result suggests a possible increased amount of talking of immigrant mothers in the new language-driven environment, but maintenance of a protosong structure typical of their culture of origin. Furthermore, a significant association between socialization goals and parenting behaviors was found in the Italian group of mothers but not in the sample of immigrant mothers, suggesting that the weaker links between goals and behaviors in the immigrant sample may express a reorganization in the composition of parenting beliefs and practices.,,SSL+0022022113486004