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Gender matters, too: the influences of school racial discrimination and racial identity on academic engagement outcomes among African American adolescents

Chavous, T.M.; Rivas-Drake, D.; Smalls, C.; Griffin, T.; Cogburn, C.

Developmental psychology 44(3): 637-654

2008


ISSN/ISBN: 0012-1649
PMID: 18473633
DOI: 10.1037/0012-1649.44.3.637
Accession: 053361424

The authors examined relationships among racial identity, school-based racial discrimination experiences, and academic engagement outcomes for adolescent boys and girls in Grades 8 and 11 (n = 204 boys and n = 206 girls). The authors found gender differences in peer and classroom discrimination and in the impact of earlier and later discrimination experiences on academic outcomes. Racial centrality related positively to school performance and school importance attitudes for boys. Also, centrality moderated the relationship between discrimination and academic outcomes in ways that differed across gender. For boys, higher racial centrality related to diminished risk for lower school importance attitudes and grades from experiencing classroom discrimination relative to boys lower in centrality, and girls with higher centrality were protected against the negative impact of peer discrimination on school importance and academic self-concept. However, among lower race-central girls, peer discrimination related positively to academic self-concept. Finally, socioeconomic background moderated the relationship of discrimination with academic outcomes differently for girls and boys. The authors discuss the need to consider interactions of individual- and contextual-level factors in better understanding African American youths' academic and social development.

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