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Lead Researcher:
Iveth Estrada Reyes, BA
(University of California, Los Angeles, ivether@g.ucla.edu)

Other Researchers:

Danielle Munguia, BS, (University of California, Los Angeles, daniellemunguia5@gmail.com)

Adaeze Onuoha, BS, (University of California, Los Angeles, adaeze211@gmail.com)

Shuhua He, MPH, (University of California, Los Angeles)

Farzana Saleem, PhD (Stanford University, fsaleem1@stanford.edu)

Tyrone Howard, PhD (University of California, Los Angeles)

This project was presented at the Undergraduate Research Week conference at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2020.

Abstract

School cultural socialization is one dimension of School Racial Climate that includes a curriculum where students are encouraged to learn about their own racial/ethnic culture and history, while developing a positive cultural identity (Byrd, 2015; Aldana & Byrd, 2015). There has been a substantial amount of literature showing that cultural socialization is linked to minority youth’s academic engagement (Byrd, 2014), and their academic outcomes (Wang and Benner, 2016). Yet, there is a lack of literature on how race is integrated into school racial climate and how it affects behavioral and emotional engagement from Latinx and Black adolescents. Therefore, the current study examines how school cultural socialization is associated with emotional disengagement and behavioral engagement in academia. Participants consisted of 137 Black (N=67) and Latinx (N=70) adolescents attending urban public high schools (grades 9th-12th). Overall, findings indicate that school cultural socialization messages have been identified in reducing  emotional disengagement among Black adolescents, but not Latinx adolescents (P=.002>.05). Thus, school cultural socialization messages have been identified in increasing behavioral engagement among Latinx adolescents, but not Black adolescents (P=0.2 < .05). Implications suggest that school cultural socialization should be included in academic environments.

If you'd like to view a PowerPoint presentation, click here.

View the pre-recorded UCLA Undergraduate Research Week conference presentation below.

Introduction

What inspired this project?

Ethnic-racial socialization (ERS) is commonly defined as direct and implicit messages about race and ethnicity communicated to youth (Hughes et al., 2006). 

One aspect of ERS is cultural socialization (CS). This is racial/ethnic messages about one's history and culture, which often instills cultural pride and identity (Umaña-Taylor & Hill, 2020).

Many studies have demonstrated the importance of cultural socialization within a family context but not through other environments. 

Research shows that cultural socialization is linked with positive academic outcomes such as higher academic engagement (Byrd, 2014), yet the few studies on African-American (AA)  and Latinx students (LA) do not examine the differences across groups

The current study examines: 

1a: How is school cultural socialization associated with emotional disengagement?

1b: Does this differ for African American and Latinx adolescents?

2a: How is school cultural socialization associated with behavioral engagement?

2b: Does this differ for African American and Latinx adolescents?

Methods

The data were collected as part of a larger study on school ERS and racial stress at two large diverse high schools with a total of 135 students grades 9th-12th.

  • Demographics 

    • African-American (N=67)

    • Latinx (N=68)

  • Gender

    • Female (56%)

    • Male (44%)

  • Age

    • Mean=16

  • Grades

    • 9th-12th

Picture1.png

Measures

School Ethnic Racial Socialization:

This scale measures school racial climate  and interracial interactions for middle and high school students. 

Sample item: “Sometimes the overall school climate conveys messages about race, culture, and ethnicity. Think about your school. How true are the following questions?”

Response scale: 1=not at all true to 5=completely true
 

Academic Engagement:

Refers to the quality of youth's involvement with the attempt of school activities. 

 

Subscales 


Emotional Disengagement (Disaffection)
Sample Item: “When we work on something in class, I feel discouraged”
Higher scores indicate more emotional disengagement 


Behavioral Engagement
Sample Item:  “I try hard to do well in school”
Higher scores indicate higher engagement 

Findings

Q1a: How is cultural socialization associated with emotional disengagement?

A: Cultural socialization was significantly negatively associated with emotional disengagement [b=-.17, S.E.=.049, p<.001].

p1.png

This graph visually shows us the findings indicating that the more school CS is reported among AA and Latinx youth, the less they are reporting being emotionally disengaged within the school context.

Q1b: Does this differ for AA and LA adolescents?

B: There is a significant negative association between school cultural socialization and emotional disengagement for AA adolescents (b=-.22, p<0.05), but NOT for LA adolescents (b=-.11, p>0.05).
 

P2.png

In these side-by-side graphs, the slope for AA youth is much stronger than that of LA youth; this shows us the differences between AA and LA when it comes to the association between school CS and emotional disengagement.

Q2a: How is school cultural socialization associated with behavioral engagement?

A: Cultural socialization is positively associated with behavioral engagement [B=.081, S.E.=.041,  p<.0.53]. 
 

P3.png

Overall, when a student is exposed to more cultural socialization tactics in the classroom (e.g., positive affirmations towards their race, discussions about their cultural history, activities and games that are culturally related) they are more likely to be behaviorally engaged in the school context. 

Q2b: Does this differ for AA and LA adolescents?

B: There is a significant positive association between school cultural socialization on behavioral engagement for LA adolescents (B=.036, p<0.05), but NOT for AA adolescents (B=0.13, p>0.05).
 

p4.png

In these side-by-side graphs, the slope for LA youth is much stronger than that of AA youth; this reiterates another difference between AA and LA when it comes to the association between school CS and emotional disengagement.

Conclusions & Implications

Findings suggest that school CS can have an influence on multiple aspects of academic engagement for adolescents (e.g., emotional disengagement and behavioral engagement).

The effects of school CS may have differential effects on different domains of academic engagement for AA and LA adolescents.

Increased dialogue about race and CS in schools may help enhance academic environments with comfort and cohesion across ethnic-racial groups.

 

School based programs and interventions may consider integrating CS to promote a healthy school racial climate. This may help promote the academic engagement in urban high-schools to support the engagement of AA and LA adolescents.


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