THE RELATIONSHIP OF FAMILY AND SCHOOL DECISION-MAKING STRUCTURES TO POLITICAL EFFICACY IN ANGLO-AMERICAN, MEXICAN-AMERICAN AND MEXICAN UPPER LEVEL GRADE SCHOOL CHILDREN
AuthorAsh, Marilyn Louise Holtze
KeywordsPolitical socialization -- United States.
Political socialization -- Mexico.
Families -- Decision making.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis research examined correlates of political efficacy in children of different national and ethnic backgrounds. It was hypothesized that children who participate in family and school decision-making which affects them would be more efficacious than children with little or no participation in family and school decision-making. It was also hypothesized that participation in family and school decision-making would vary with social status and ethnic background. The children studied were mostly sixth graders, and of 11-12 years of age. Children of Anglo, Mexican-American, and Mexican backgrounds were administered written questionnaires in their classrooms. The classes tested were drawn from nine schools which were a mixture of public and private in each country. Five schools in El Paso, Texas, and four in Juarez, Mexico, were selected, by reputation, to represent lower, middle, and upper middle classes in each country. An attempt was also made to obtain a sample which would adequately represent each national and ethnic group within each category of socioeconomic status. Family decision-making patterns did, in fact, correlate with differences in socioeconomic status and ethnic background in both the U.S. and Mexico. Middle and upper status children were more likely to participate in family decision-making than were low status children. Of the middle and upper status children, however, middle status children were somewhat more likely to participate in family decision-making than upper status children and this was true both in the U.S. and Mexico. Anglos were more likely to participate than were Mexican-Americans and Mexicans. Regression suggests, however, that when socioeconomic status is controlled for, that ethnic background is no longer relevant to this question in the U.S. In Mexico, some Mexican children also responded to the categories Anglo or Mexican-American, instead of Mexican, and it was determined that these responses, in the border environment, indicated an acculturation to "mainstream" U.S. patterns. Significant differences exist in Mexico between children who call themselves Anglo, for example, and those who call themselves Mexican in regard to participation in family decision-making. The children tested in the U.S. report widely different patterns of school participation, which correlate with socioeconomic status. In Mexico, however, children uniformly report moderately participant school environments. Regression indicates that school decision-making patterns vary directly with family decision-making patterns. In each country, the only significant predictor of school decision-making is family decision-making patterns. School decision-making, in turn, correlates at a moderate level with efficacy in each country. Regression indicates, however, that school decision-making has a somewhat different role in the two countries. In the U.S., regression shows family decision-making as the primary, significant predictor of efficacy whereas regression for Mexico shows school decision-making as the primary, significant predictor of efficacy. The basic hypotheses are thus confirmed, with some modifications for each country. In the U.S., family decision-making correlates most strongly with social status. In Mexico, ethnic background responses seem to reflect acculturation to "mainstream" U.S. patterns just across the border and are the strongest correlate of family decision-making patterns. In both countries, the only significant predictor of school decision-making patterns are family decision-making patterns. School decision-making patterns, in turn, correlate with efficacy. Regression, however, indicates that in the U.S., it is the family decision-making patterns which are significant in predicting efficacy whereas in Mexico it is the school decision-making patterns which are most significant in predicting efficacy.
Degree ProgramGraduate College