Abstract: Fostering Black Youth's Higher Academic Performance through Enhanced Self-Efficacy: The Importance of Integrated Racial-Ethnic Identity (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

Fostering Black Youth's Higher Academic Performance through Enhanced Self-Efficacy: The Importance of Integrated Racial-Ethnic Identity

Sunday, January 19, 2020
Marquis BR Salong 13, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Eric Kyere, PhD, Assistant Professor, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN
Sadaaki Fukui, PhD, Associate Professor, Indiana University, IN
Background: Racial-ethnic identity (REI) has gained prominence in efforts to understand, explain, and respond to the developmental needs of children and youth. REI is the highly valued aspect of one's self that strengthens and is reinforced by one's connection to their relevant racial-ethnic group.  Increasing body of work has linked REI to black youth’s psychosocial and academic outcomes, yet the findings about the positive effects on these outcomes are mixed. One possible reason is the lack of attention to the interactive influence of REI dimensions on youth’s psychosocial and academic outcomes in previous studies. Indeed, REI is a multidimensional construct, and the dimensions are highly interrelated. Therefore, it is important to examine the interrelatedness of the various REI dimensions, and how they impact black youth’s psychosocial and academic outcomes.

Methods: Participants are drawn from the National Survey of American Life-Adolescent Supplement (NASL-A, N =1170). African American only sample (n=810, mean age =13, 52 percent females) was used for the current study.  We apply path analysis to examine the interrelations between three dimensions of REI, and their interactive effects on academic performance (GPA) through self-efficacy. The three REI dimensions include private regard (positive affect toward oneself as a member of the racial-ethnic group), racial centrality (the importance attached to the racial-ethnic group), and public regard (perceived positive view of the racial-ethnic group by others).

Results: Findings revealed significant positive correlations among racial centrality, public regard, private regard, self-efficacy, and GPA. Further, path analysis indicated that racial centrality covary together with public regard to positively predict private regard (β =.27, p<.001, β =.51, p<.001 respectively). Then, private regard in turn predicted higher self-efficacy (β = .14, p<.001), which was positively linked to GPA (β = .15, p<.001) after controlling for family income, gender, age, and neighborhood safety. Additionally, when controlling for the covariates and the mediation effect of private regard, both racial centrality (β = -.09, p<.01), and public regard (β = -.08, p<.05) each had a negative independent association with self-efficacy.

Conclusion: The current findings show that an integrated or consolidated REI rather than the independent effects of the REI dimensions confers favorable outcomes on black youth. They underscore the need to consider the interrelatedness of the three REI dimensions (racial centrality, public regard, private regard) for black youth’s psychosocial and academic outcomes. Our study suggests that social work interventions that lead to the development of positive public view of black youth while simultaneously ensuring contextual affordances, which encourage black youth to view their racial-ethnic identity as central part of who they are, can increase their positive view of themselves. Furthermore, the positive view of themselves in turn provides psychological platform to foster higher academic performance through enhanced self-efficacy. Social work practice and research implications will be discussed.