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23-05-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 10/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 10/2020

School Discrimination and Changes in Latinx Adolescents’ Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 10/2020
Morgane Bennett, Kathleen M. Roche, David M. Huebner, Sharon F. Lambert
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10964-020-01256-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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U.S. Latinx youth are growing up in an environment characterized by increased anti-immigrant policy and rhetoric, including experiences of discrimination. Given the salience of the school setting for youth’s development, it is important to understand how experiences of discrimination by teachers and other adults at school, or school discrimination, relate to the emotional and behavioral adjustment of today’s Latinx adolescents. Study participants include 547 Latinx adolescents selected at random from a large, suburban school district in Atlanta, Georgia (55.4% female; age M = 12.8, range = 11–16). Youth provided two time points of survey data spaced roughly 6 months apart during 2018 and 2019. Structural equation models (SEM) were used to test the main and interaction effects of school discrimination and parental support on later internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Multiple group SEM was used to investigate gender differences in pathways to adolescent adjustment. More school discrimination was related to more internalizing and externalizing symptoms at a later time point. Greater parental support was associated with fewer internalizing symptoms, but did not moderate associations between school discrimination and adolescent outcomes. Pathways to adolescent outcomes were similar for males and females. Study results suggest that discrimination by teachers and other adults at school is an important source of adversity potentially jeopardizing Latinx youth’s emotional and behavioral adjustment. Future research is needed to identify factors that mitigate potentially harmful consequences of discrimination for Latinx adolescents.

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