Does Mother’s Involvement Matter for The Cognitive Development of Interracial Children? Testing the Race of the Mother Hypothesis.

OpenPsych , Sept. 8, 2022, ISSN: 2597-324X


Extensive research has been conducted on the effect of mothers’ socialization on their children’s cognitive test scores. But less is known about the relation between mothers’ race/ethnicity and the performance of children from interracial families. It has been proposed by Willerman et al. (1974) that cognitive scores of interracial children will be more similar to those of the mother’s race/ethnic group. This is because the mother is the main agent of socialization in youth and adolescence and, as such, the mother provides most of the environmental stimulation. Using the Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP) and the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS: 2009) data, the current study re-analyzes Willerman et al.’s (1974) observation that mother’s race is a strong determinant of the child’s cognitive ability. In both datasets, we did not find consistent support for the mother’s involvement hypothesis. Furthermore, in the CPP, which was analyzed prior by Willerman et al. (1974), it was found that the earlier superior IQ scores of interracial children of White mothers at age 4 eventually fade out at age 7. Alternative theories are considered.
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cognitive ability, race, maternal involvement

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