Examination of Socialization Goals for European American Mothers Through the Lens of Environmental Sociological Imagination Framework

Shanvanth Arnipalli
Undergraduate (Social Sciences)
Dr. Xin Feng
Environment and Natural Resources

Environmental sociological imagination is defined as the ability to recognize the extent to which individual lives are strongly shaped by where, when and whom someone is born as and the range of experiences they have had are some of the key factors in molding an individual’s life (Scanlan and Grauerholz, 2009). This definition provides framework to better contextualize children’s socio-emotional development from the environment that the parents and children are from. For this study, the environment being analyzed is USA. For sake of focus, this study examined parental socialization goals from a cultural aspect. Parental socialization goals are aims comprised of values and beliefs that are deemed important to the parents for their children’s socialization into society (Pearson and Rao, 2003). Parental socialization goals for European American mothers were explored through empirical data on how culture could influence socialization goals. Moreover, this study is furnished with the cultural independence model to further examine the extent of European American culture (Qu et al., 2016). Participants were drawn from a larger cross-cultural study. The current study included 12 European American mothers of mean age of 35.67 years. Mothers are primarily well-educated, with the majority of them holding a college degree and having a high annual household income. Socialization Goal Interview was utilized to assess mothers’ long term socialization goals such as desirable/undesirable child characteristics. The goals coded from the interviews were self-maximization (individual development), self-regulation, lovingness, decency, and proper demeanor (appropriate and acceptable behaviors in society). Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was conducted to measure significance of difference among the five goals. Based on the MANCOVA results, the five types of goal were statistically significantly different, F (1.895, 18.947) = 16.038. Post Hoc analyses demonstrated that Self-maximization had statistically higher frequency than Self-regulation (p=0.002) and Decency (p=.004), however, it was not statistically different from Lovingness and Proper Demeanor. The cultural independence model emphasizes self-enhancement and self-maximization for socialization goal setting, which ties into the individualistic nature of American culture. Thus, the findings are consistent with the hypothesis that self-maximization would be most prominent in US mothers when it comes to socialization goals.