Abstract: Disparities in Access to School-Based Supports Among Black Adolescent Girls of Color (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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101P Disparities in Access to School-Based Supports Among Black Adolescent Girls of Color

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Samantha Bates, PhD, Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, OH
Antwan Woods, MSW, PhD Student, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background and Purpose: The experiences of girls of color in schools are highly contextualized and an understudied area of research that demands our attention. Scholars advocate that structural and interpersonal forces at the intersections of gender, race, class, and age perpetuate disproportionate and unjust outcomes for girls of color in our schools. In our pursuit of racial justice, there is a continued need to examine how these interwoven forces that stem from historical, cultural, and social prejudices influence the school experiences of girls of color in their schools (Dotterer et al., 2009; Morris & Perry, 2017). The current study aimed to examine whether intersectional patterns of implicit bias influence the equitable delivery of school-based supports provided to adolescent girls of color.

Methods: We utilized secondary data to explore the relationship between hours of school-based support and race, gender, class, and age among 4,951 students in 54 schools over one academic year. We drew upon an intersectionality framework and the theory of adultification to frame our hypotheses that implicit biases at the intersection of race, gender, and age influence the delivery of nonacademic school-based supports in schools. We first explored the means and standard deviations of school-based service hours provided to different subgroups of youth based on their intersectional demographic characteristics. Next, we examined whether there were mean differences in school-based service hours provided to different subgroups of youth (i.e., based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, and grade level). T-tests and one-way ANOVA (where p less than .05 was the criteria for statistically significant group differences) were used to explore whether mean scores differed for subgroups of youth based on their demographic characteristics.

Results: Findings indicated that Black adolescent girls of color received significantly less supportive counseling hours than their Latina and White female peers (p <0.05). In short, Latino and White adolescent girls received an average of 1 hour and 23 minutes more supportive counseling support than their Black female peers. Furthermore, Black adolescent girls received significantly more referrals and subsequently hours of college and career readiness and health and social service hours than their Latino and White female peers (p<0.05).

Conclusions and Implications: Our findings point to the potential role of implicit biases influencing the inequitable delivery of school-based support to Black adolescent girls. Inequities in access to mental health services such as supportive counseling supports in middle school may negatively impact adolescent Black girls’ developmental outcomes. Patterns of marginalization can result in heightened risks for internalizing and externalizing behaviors that influence girls’ long-term achievement, persistence, and overall health and well-being. School social workers have a responsibility to illuminate inequities and challenge structural patterns of marginalization. Across our 54 schools, the delivery of school-based services followed patterns shown to promote school pushout for Black and Indigenous youth. We discuss implications for systemic intervention efforts among practitioners in schools and across districts to improve equity and engagement in anti-racist practices.