Session: Examining the Health and Wellbeing of Racial and Ethnic Minority Youth: The Role of Multiple Contexts and Experiences (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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134 Examining the Health and Wellbeing of Racial and Ethnic Minority Youth: The Role of Multiple Contexts and Experiences

Thursday, January 21, 2021: 1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Cluster: Race and Ethnicity
Symposium Organizer:
Adrian Gale, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Racial and ethnic minorities make up approximately 36% of the United States according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Although important health and social indicators such as mental (e.g., trauma) and sexual health and academic outcomes of Black youth, family and peers may have improved for most Americans, some racial and ethnic minority groups experience higher rates of health and mental health disparities compared with their White counterparts. In particular, Black and Latinx communities face racial and health disparities within the different settings they inhabit. These settings include: the child welfare system, juvenile justice/criminal system, the healthcare system, and in schools. Although significant progress has been made in narrowing the racial gap in health outcomes (NCHS, 2016) and improving overall well-being, the elimination of these gaps has yet to be achieved. Racial and ethnic minority youth are also disproportionately affected and burdened by chronic disease, and negative mental health outcomes. For instance, trauma such as racial discrimination, has been found to negatively impact their health and wellbeing, and also lead to decreases in well-being. Despite the multiple threats to their positive development, many racial and ethnic minority youth continue to thrive and become successful. Given the persistence of racial and ethnic gaps in health and well-being, more studies investigating the role of specific features of the contexts they inhabit contribute to is needed. The four studies in this paper symposium expand our understanding of the experiences of racial and ethnic minority youth. In particular, this paper symposium assesses research that aims to improve the health and well-being of Black and Latinx youth by utilizing theories and methods that center these populations to inform social work practice and policy. Specific contributions of this symposium include: 1) an exploration of the impact of media stereotypes on Black girls’ mental health; 2) examination of the ways in which trauma associated with peers and family interactions impact functioning in Black girls; 3) an investigation of the ways in which Black and Latino youth’s experiences in a college access program impact their non-academic outcomes and well-being, and 4) an examination of the relationship between Black fathers and their son’s relationship, bonding, and communication on their sexual health. By assessing various experiences that racial and ethnic minority youth experience across settings, this symposium seeks to deepen the knowledge base on ways that more positive health and overall well-being can be achieved.
* noted as presenting author
Examining the Effectiveness of a College Access Program for Black and Latinx Youth
Adrian Gale, Ph.D., Rutgers University; Alicia Mendez, MSW, Rutgers University
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