Validation of a culture-contextualized measure of family engagement in the early learning of low-income Latino children

Christine M. McWayne, Gigliana Melzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the increased numbers of Latino children entering the U.S. educational system, there is a need to develop culturally contextualized models to understand the ways Latino parents participate in and support their children's school experiences. Current tools used to measure family engagement have been developed primarily with monolingual English-speaking European American families and thus might not accurately capture the engagement behaviors unique to other ethnic and linguistic groups. The present study builds upon prior mixed-methods research, involving a total of 763 Latino parents, which employed an emic approach to understand family engagement conceptualizations for a pan-Latino population and to develop a new measure for use with this heterogeneous group. In this follow-up study, we examined, with an additional 463 Latino caregivers, the construct validity of a revised 43-item measure across 2 language versions: Parental Engagement of Families from Latino Backgrounds (PEFL-English) and Participación Educativa de Familias Latinas (PEFL-Spanish). The 4 dimensions of family engagement empirically identified in the prior development study were confirmed with this multicity, independent sample of low-income Latino families. Family engagement dimensions demonstrated relations with recency of immigration, home language, employment, education, and caregiver age, as well as caregiverreported levels of social support. Findings are discussed with respect to future directions for early childhood research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Early childhood
  • Emic
  • Family engagement
  • Latino
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Validation of a culture-contextualized measure of family engagement in the early learning of low-income Latino children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this