University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Pablo Chavajay, UNH Department of Psychology
Forms of Help Among US Mexican Immigrant Mothers and Their Children
Aspects of mother-child interactions have been observed to differ within and across some cultural communities usually related to maternal educational levels and socioeconomic status (Chavajay & Rogoff, 2002; Laosa 1978). In the US, where the population of Mexican immigrants is rapidly increasing, engagements involving Mexican immigrant children are often contrasted across settings, such as home and school (National Research Council, 2006). Yet, little research has systematically examined the ways US Mexican immigrant children and their mothers support one another in problem-solving activities.
The present study examines the forms of help utilized among US Mexican immigrant children and their mothers who vary in extent of Western formal schooling during the construction of a three-dimensional puzzle. It is expected that Mexican immigrant mothers with less schooling and their children will offer a greater extent and array of the forms of help to their children than Mexican immigrant mothers with more schooling. These contrasting patterns of help are expected to provide insights as to the roles maternal schooling may play in shaping participants’ contributions in problem solving. The findings will also further understanding about the culturally sensitive ways in which to facilitate Mexican immigrant children’s learning, particularly in settings such as schools that tend to overlook or disregard forms of collaboration relied on and valued in more traditional Mexican and Mexican immigrant communities.