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.