Latino Adolescents’ Experiences of Discrimination Across the First 2 Years of High School: Correlates and Influences on Educational Outcomes

Authors


  • This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant awarded to the first author (F32 HD056732) and the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin (R24 HD042849) as well as grants from the National Science Foundation and the Haynes Foundation awarded to the second author.

concerning this article should be addressed to Aprile D. Benner, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station G1800, Austin, TX 78712. Electronic mail may be sent to abenner@prc.utexas.edu.

Abstract

Changes in perceptions of discrimination were examined with 668 Latino students (62% Mexican American; 56% female; Mage = 14.6 years). Adolescents’ reports of discrimination increased across the first 2 years of high school. Perceptions of discrimination were higher for boys and for primary language brokers, as well as for adolescents in schools with more ethnically diverse student bodies but a less diverse teaching staff. Path analysis revealed that higher levels of discrimination and increases in discrimination across time influenced Latino adolescents’ academic outcomes (i.e., grades, absences) indirectly via their influences on perceptions of school climate. Findings highlight previously understudied individual and school contextual factors that shape experiences of discrimination and the mechanisms by which discrimination indirectly influences Latino adolescents’ outcomes.

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