Overrepresentation of Black male students among suspensions and expulsions from public schools contribute to negative psychosocial functioning. The Imani Rites of Passage program (IROP), sponsored by Family Renaissance Inc., is a time-limited Africentric intervention, designed to enhance Black male students’ life coping skills to respond more appropriately to negative situations. The study seeks to evaluate an idiothetic approach to behavior change from implementation of the IROP program in a low-income public school, comparing intervention and no-intervention groups on measures informed by the cognitive-cultural model of Black identity.
After informed consent and assent, IROP participants completed online measures of Africentric socialization, individual and cultural identity, social competence, and violence risk using school lab computers, followed by 15 weekly sessions of two hours each of intervention. The hypothesis was that intervention participants (N = 20, mean age = 16.04) at posttest will exhibit greater cultural socialization, stronger racial and individual identity, greater social competence, and reduction in violence risk than no-intervention participants (N = 20, mean age = 15.42).
The findings of the evaluation indicated an Africentrric socialization effect on some predictor variables associated with posttest reductions in violence risk for the intervention group. They provide partial support for hypotheses derived from the cognitive-cultural model.
We conclude that (1) the IROP can be successfully implemented in a public-school setting; (2) intervention effects are partially consistent with the cognitive-cultural model of African American identity: and (3) idiographic and idiothetic approaches are more sensitive to behavior change than the normative type of data analysis.