African American Family Life: Ecological and Cultural Diversity (Paperback) book cover

African American Family Life

Ecological and Cultural Diversity

Edited by Vonnie C. McLoyd, Nancy E. Hill, Kenneth A. Dodge

© 2007 – Guilford Press

348 pages

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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.


"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

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

About the Editors

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 William McDougall Professor of Public Policy Studies and Professor of Psychology at Duke University. He directs the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, which is devoted to finding solutions to problems facing children through research, policy engagement, service, and education. Dr. Dodge is interested in how problem behaviors such as chronic violence, school failure, drug use, and child abuse develop across the lifespan; how they can be prevented; and how communities can implement policies to prevent these outcomes and promote children's optimal development.

About the Series

Duke Series in Child Development and Public Policy

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