The purpose of this qualitative grounded theory study focused on gaining the perspective of Mexican American parents in regards to female adolescent leadership. The goal was to develop a grounded theory about Mexican American parents' parenting style, methods and strategies most commonly used, and obstacles or challenges encountered while attempting to assist their female adolescents acquire leadership traits. Since no prior theoretical framework exists, this study explored 3 pertinent and interrelated topics that form the foundation of adolescent leadership through parental involvement. This study also reviewed various leadership theories and cultural norms most prominent among the Mexican American culture in order to apperceive the various perceptions held by parents. Data was gathered from 10 second-generation, Mexican American parents whose female adolescents attended 1 of 2 selected high schools within a school district in the greater metropolitan area of Las Vegas, Nevada. The 95-minute, face-to-face, open-ended personal interview provided support to the 4 central research questions in this study. The coding and thematic analysis method, which included open coding, axial coding, and selective coding was utilized to reveal patterns and themes for this study. Once categorical themes were identified, a second coder coded the transcripts to assure interrater reliability. A methodological triangulation approach was also taken to support the qualitative data. The findings revealed that although Mexican American parents believe the promotion of female adolescent leadership to be essential, cultural expectations, gender, and being of a minority status were expressed as challenges toward attaining leadership. The parenting style most commonly utilized is a combination of praise and punishment with the expression of criticism and judgment strongly discouraged and replaced with a more interactive learning environment. In regards to methods, strategies, and techniques, Mexican American parents commonly involve their daughters when it comes to making important family decisions, assisting in scheduling day-to-day activities, and supervising younger children to promote leadership. Lastly, immaturity, lack of familial attention and support, exposure to real world opportunities and experiences, and the need for additional resources to assist with leadership development were reported by parents as obstacles and challenges. Recommendations and implications for future study are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Child rearing -- United States; Leadership -- Study and teaching; Leadership in women; Mexican American families; Mexican American teenage girls

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Garcia-Ramos, Reyna