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Black and Latino adolescents' perceptions of racial discrimination and school adjustment: Parent educational advocacy and friendship support as protective factors

  • Author(s): Harven, Aletha Marie
  • Advisor(s): Graham, Sandra
  • et al.
Abstract

The purpose of this research was to explore Black and Latino adolescents' experiences with racial discrimination in school. First, a mediation model was utilized to examine the hypothesized path between teacher racial discrimination, academic goals, and school achievement - and the hypothesized path between peer racial discrimination, mental health, and school achievement. Second, moderated mediation was employed to examine the influence of parent educational advocacy on the hypothesized path between teacher racial discrimination, academic goals, and school achievement - and the influence of friendship support on the hypothesized path between peer racial discrimination, mental health, and school achievement. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to test all paths. Only mental health factors were found to mediate the relation between peer racial discrimination and school achievement for Black and Latino girls. However, moderated mediation revealed additional mediated paths that were not gender specific but were influenced by differing levels of the moderating variables. For instance, lower levels of parent educational advocacy were found to strengthen the negative impact of teacher racial discrimination on student achievement through mastery goals and performance-avoidance goals for Latino youth. Similarly, lower levels of friendship support were found to strengthen the negative impact of peer racial discrimination on student achievement through depressive symptoms for Black youth. These findings suggest that the absense of parent educational advocacy and friendship support in adverse situations can have negative psychological and academic consequences for both Black and Latino students. Implications of the findings for promoting parent educational advocacy and friendship support were discussed. Also discussed was the notion that mediation cannot always be understood alone and that differing levels of a moderator can more effectively explain a unique path.

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