Familial Racial-ethnic Socialization of Multiracial Youth: A Qualitative Examination and Validation of the Multiracial Youth Socialization (MY-Soc) Scale

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Pew Research Center reported in 2015 that already one-in-seven infants born in the United States are Multiracial (Livingston, 2017). Therefore, the number of Multiracial families is growing, and there is

Pew Research Center reported in 2015 that already one-in-seven infants born in the United States are Multiracial (Livingston, 2017). Therefore, the number of Multiracial families is growing, and there is a need to understand how parents are engaging in racial-ethnic socialization, or the transmission of messages to Multiracial children about race, ethnicity, and culture (Atkin & Yoo, 2019; Hughes et al., 2006). I conducted a qualitative interview study with 20 Multiracial emerging adults to understand the types of racial-ethnic socialization messages Multiracial youth receive from their parents, and used these themes to inform the development and validation of the first measure of racial-ethnic socialization for Multiracial youth, the Multiracial Youth Socialization (MY-Soc) Scale.

Study 1 identified nine themes of racial-ethnic socialization content: cultural socialization, racial identity socialization, preparation for bias socialization, colorblind socialization, race conscious socialization, cultural diversity appreciation socialization, negative socialization, exposure to diversity socialization, and silent socialization. Study 2 utilized a sample of 902 Multiracial emerging adults to develop and validate the MY-Soc scale. Items were written to assess all of the themes identified in Study 1, with the exception of exposure to diversity socialization, and the survey was designed to collect responses regarding the socialization practices of two of the youths’ primary caregivers. The sample was split to run exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis, finding support for a 62-item scale measuring all eight themes. The MY-Soc Scale was also supported by validity and reliability tests. The two studies advance the literature by increasing understanding of the racial-ethnic socialization experiences of Multiracial youth of diverse racial backgrounds. The MY-Soc Scale contributes an important tool for scholars and practitioners to learn which racial-ethnic socialization messages are promotive for Multiracial youth development in different contexts.