Date of Award

5-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Pauline Garcia-Reid

Committee Member

Robert J. Reid

Committee Member

Elizabeth Rivera Rodas

Subject(s)

Social networks, Black teenagers, Hispanic American teenagers, Urban schools

Abstract

The disparities in education disproportionately facing Black and Hispanic adolescents, particularly those who attend low-income urban school districts, have far too often been examined through a deficit-based lens, in comparison to White middle-class adolescents. Such comparisons can overlook the cultural strengths of low-income Black and Hispanic adolescents and create a biased interpretation of educational and developmental research. Grounded in the Social Development Model and the Convoy Model of Social Networks, this study examines the interactions of parental support, peer support, school connectedness, and community organization as sources of strength, influencing academic achievement for low-income Black and Hispanic adolescents through a culturally sensitive, strength-based lens. Utilizing data collected from the Communities that Care (CTC) Youth Survey, influences of social support for Black (N = 78) and Hispanic (N = 228) adolescents were evaluated separately. Results revealed a direct effect of parental support, a partial effect of peer support, and a mediating effect of school connectedness on academic achievement. To allow for cultural strengths to be highlighted, findings from this study support the importance of examining academic achievement for low-income Black and Hispanic adolescents as separate and distinct without comparison to a White, middle-class control group. Implications for practice, policy, and future research are discussed.

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