Inequality in Black and White High School Students’ Perceptions of School Support: An Examination of Race in Context

Jessika H. Bottiani, Catherine P. Bradshaw, Tamar Mendelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Supportive relationships with adults at school are critical to student engagement in adolescence. Additional research is needed to understand how students’ racial backgrounds interact with the school context to shape their perceptions of school support. This study employed multilevel, latent variable methods with a sample of Black and White students (N = 19,726, 35.8 % Black, 49.9 % male, mean age = 15.9) in 58 high schools to explore variation in perceived caring, equity, and high expectations by student race, school diversity, and socioeconomic context. The results indicated that Black students perceived less caring and equity relative to White students overall, and that equity and high expectations were lower in diverse schools for both Black and White students. Nonetheless, racial disparities were attenuated in more diverse schools. The findings point to the need for intervention to improve perceptions of school support for Black youth and for all students in lower income and more diverse schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1191
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • Engagement
  • Racial disparities
  • School climate
  • School diversity
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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