Discussions about racial and ethnic differences may allow international, transracial adoptive families to construct multiracial and/or multi-ethnic family identities. However, little is known about the ways family communication influences how discussions about racial and ethnic differences occur. This study examined associations between observed family communication constructs, including engagement, warmth, and control, and how adoptive families discuss racial and ethnic differences using a sample of families with adolescent-aged children adopted internationally from South Korea (N = 111 families, 222 adolescents). Using data collected during mid-adolescence and again during late adolescence, higher levels of maternal control and positive adolescent engagement were independently associated with a greater likelihood that family members acknowledged the importance of racial and ethnic differences and constructed a multiracial and/or multi-ethnic family identity. Adolescent engagement was also related to a greater likelihood that family members disagreed about the importance of racial and ethnic differences, and did not build a cohesive identity about differences.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under award numbers [AA011886, MH066140, MH070740]. Other funding support was received from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station [MN-52-079] and the M. Janice Hogan Fellowship. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or other funding entities.