Ecocultural patterns of family engagement among low-income latino families of preschool children

Christine M. McWayne, Gigliana Melzi, Maria Cristina Limlingan, Adina Schick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For the 5 million low-income Latino children in the United States who are disproportionately impacted by the numerous risk factors associated with poverty, it is essential to identify proximal protective factors that mitigate these risks and bolster the academic and social skills that are foundational to a successful transition into formal schooling. Using ecocultural theory as a lens to guide this work, the present study: (a) described patterns of culture-contextualized family engagement among a low-income, Latino sample, and (b) examined relations between these patterns, family demographic factors, and children's language and social skills in preschool. Across Spanish and English language subsamples, we found evidence that there is heterogeneity in patterns of family engagement within and across language groups, such that different forms of family engagement defined the high engagement profiles in particular. We also found that demographic factors (such as child gender, family structure, and parental education and employment) predicted these patterns differentially across language groups, and that these patterns related to children's social and language skills in meaningful ways. Findings provide directions for future research, theory, and practice with this heterogeneous cultural group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1088-1102
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Family engagement
  • Head start
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Latino
  • Preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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