African American Family Life : Ecological and Cultural Diversity book cover
1st Edition

African American Family Life
Ecological and Cultural Diversity

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ISBN 9781593854676
Published March 8, 2007 by Guilford Press
348 Pages

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Book Description

This volume brings together leading experts from different disciplines to offer new perspectives on contemporary African American families. A wealth of knowledge is presented on the heterogeneity of Black family life today; the challenges and opportunities facing parents, children, and communities; and the impact on health and development of key cultural and social processes. Comprehensive and authoritative, the book critically evaluates current policies and service delivery models and offers cogent recommendations for supporting families' strengths.

Table of Contents

I. Emergent Issues, Themes, and Conceptualizations
1. Ecological and Cultural Diversity in African American Family Life, Vonnie C. McLoyd, Nancy E. Hill, and Kenneth A. Dodge
2. Sociocultural Contexts of African American Families, Nancy E. Hill, Velma McBride Murry, and Valerie D. Anderson
3. Trends in African American Child Well-Being, 1985–2001, Vicki L. Lamb, Kenneth C. Land, Sarah O. Meadows, and Fasaha Traylor
4. Racial Wealth Inequality and the Black Family, William A. Darity, Jr. and Melba J. Nicholson
5. New Families, New Functions: Postmodern African American Families in Context, M. Belinda Tucker and Angela D. James
II. African American Families in Community Contexts
6. Marital Relationships of African Americans: A Contextual Approach, Chalandra M. Bryant and K. A. S. Wickrama
7. Work and African American Family Life, Vonnie C. McLoyd and Noem? Enchautegui-de-Jes?s
8. Homeplace and Housing in the Lives of Low-Income Urban African American Families, Linda M. Burton and Sherri Lawson Clark
9. Religion in African American Family Life, Jacqueline S. Mattis
10. A Model of Extended Family Support: Care of the Elderly in African American Families, Peggye Dilworth-Anderson and Paula Y. Goodwin
III. Socialization Processes in African American Families
11. Family Practices and School Performance of African American Children, Oscar A. Barbarin, Terry McCandies, Cheri Coleman, and Nancy E. Hill
12. The Cultural Context of Physically Disciplining Children, Kenneth A. Dodge, Vonnie C. McLoyd, and Jennifer E. Lansford
13. African American Families as a Context for Racial Socialization, Stephanie I. Coard and Robert M. Sellers
14. Beyond the Birth Family: African American Children Reared by Alternative Caregivers, Ellen E. Pinderhughes and Brenda Jones Harden
15. Style Matters: Toward a Culturally Relevant Framework for Interventions with African American Families, Howard C. Stevenson, Donna-Marie Winn, Chanequa Walker-Barnes, and Stephanie I. Coard

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Vonnie C. McLoyd, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Research Scientist at the Center for Developmental Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Her scholarly work focuses on the effects of economic disadvantage and employment-related transitions on family life and child development, and the mediators and moderators of these effects. Dr. McLoyd is also interested in how race, ethnicity, and culture shape child socialization and development. She is director of a training program at UNC in research on Black child development, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Nancy E. Hill, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at Duke University and Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Developmental Science at UNC. Her research focuses on how family socialization varies across ethnicity and socioeconomic status, and demographic variations in the relationship between family dynamics and children's development, especially among African American and Latino families. She is one of the founders of the Study Group on Race, Culture, and Ethnicity, an interdisciplinary group of scientists brought together to develop theory and methodology for defining and understanding cultural contexts.

Kenneth A. Dodge, PhD, is the Pritzker Professor of Public Policy and Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He is Founding and Emeritus Director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. A clinical and developmental psychologist, Dr. Dodge studies early childhood development, prevention of violent behavior in the family, and public policy to improve population outcomes for communities. He is the developer of Family Connects, a population approach to improve children’s outcomes in the first year of life. The author of more than 500 highly cited scientific articles, which have been cited more than 100,000 times, Dr. Dodge has been elected into the National Academy of Medicine and is the 2019–2021 President of the Society for Research in Child Development.


The message of this book is clear and timely: there is no single portrait of the African American family, only many and diverse versions of these families. By highlighting the varied ecological circumstances of African American families and the range of historical experiences that continue to produce myriad family types, this volume not only provides scholarly insights but also offers an empirically grounded platform for guiding social policies for different groups of families. The focus on the strengths and resilience of these families is a welcome corrective to earlier deficit models and the pathologization of the African American family. Scholars in a variety of fields, including psychology, ethnic studies, anthropology, social work, family studies, and education, would profit from this volume. This book deserves a prominent place in the library of all serious students of the contemporary African American family.--Ross D. Parke, PhD, Center for Family Studies and Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside

This is a very fine book. It brings a fresh approach to the study of African American families. The ecological perspective is especially appropriate to the study of families. The authors together make it clear that African American families not only grow out of and are shaped by the varied cultural streams in American life, but also make a contribution to the continuing streams of cultural diversity....Will be especially useful as a supplementary text in African American Studies and Family Studies.--Andrew Billingsley, PhD, Department of Sociology and African American Studies Program, University of South Carolina, Columbia

An intensive examination of the many facets of family life in Black America. This is an excellent text for graduate and advanced undergraduate students seeking the most recent data on this racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse population. The editors are to be congratulated for assembling this amazing cadre of contributing authors.--Harriette McAdoo, PhD, Department of Family and Child Ecology, Michigan State University
A 'must have' reference....It has been a handy resource in intervention planning for my individual family intervention program that serves fifty African American families who live in an urban area. I have also used it with good success in a training workshop for behavior management staff who provide school intervention to teens....The material also is relevant to the graduate level family therapy and diversity classes that I teach.
--The Family Psychologist, 1/28/2007ƒƒ
I thoroughly enjoyed this book....It challenges you to go beyond conventional thinking and deal with difficult issues.
--Doody's Review Service, 1/28/2007