Socialization and Adolescent Conformity of Significant Others: A Cross-National Analysis


Catholic adolescents, socialization, authority, conformity, Latino, Anglo


On the basis of classical urban theory and Latin and Anglo cultural differences, this paper first hypothesizes an increase in conformity to significant others (best friend, mother, father, priest) for middle-class Catholic male and female adolescents as one moves across four purposive samples: New York; St. Paul; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Merida, Yucatan. Second, building on studies of parent-child interaction, it is hypothesized that parental (mother and/ or father) control anl support are positively related to conformity; and third, that a high degree of both control and support results in a high degree of conformity to significant others in each sample. The findings selectively corroborate the first two hypotheses, except for conformity to best friend, and for the relationship between control and conformity, while the third hypothesis receives limited support. The findings suggest that conformity to "authoritative others" (parents, priest) should be distinguished from conformity to peers (best friend), and that support from parents rather than control is associated with the adolescents' tendency to conform to the expectations of authoritative other.

Original Publication Citation

"""Socialization and Adolescent Conformity of Significant Others: A Cross-National Analysis,"" American Sociological Review 36 (October):835-847 (with A.J. Weigert)."

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


American Sociological Review




Religious Education



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor