Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Psychology and Developing Societies 24:2 (2012), pp. 239–268; doi: 10.1177/097133361202400207


Copyright © 2012 Department of Psychology, University of Allahabad; published by SAGE Publications, Used by permission.


This study explored parental beliefs surrounding prosocial behaviors and the parenting practices that promote them. A total of 47 mothers of young adolescents participated in one of the seven focus groups, three of which were conducted in Spanish with first-generation Mexican-American immigrants, two were conducted in English among second generation (US-born) Mexican Americans, and two were conducted with European Americans. Responses were coded using elements of the grounded theory approach, and results indicate patterns of shared and unique beliefs about prosocial behaviors in ways that reflect the sociocultural context and acculturative experiences of the respondents. Findings suggest that beliefs about prosocial behaviors and parenting are culturally-structured and dynamic—changing to reflect the experiences and developmental landscape of parents and children.