BIRACIAL YOUTH AND FAMILIES IN THERAPY: ISSUES AND INTERVENTIONS

Authors


  • Stephanie Milan, MA, is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203.

  • Margaret K. Keiley, EdD, is assistant professor. Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Department of Child Development and Family Studies, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Abstract

Empirical research and clinical resources focusing specifically on minority youth and families have increased tremendously in the last 2 decades. Despite this trend, certain groups continue to be relatively neglected. In particular, very few resources exist for understanding the unique challenges that often face biracial youth and their families. In this article, we use a nationally representative database to compare functioning in biracial youth to white adolescents and other minority adolescents. Results suggest that biracial/biethnic youth are a particularly vulnerable group in terms of self-reported delinquency, school problems, internalizing symptoms, and self-regard. As a group, they are also more likely to receive some form of psychological intervention. Given these findings and the shortcoming of clinical resources for work with this population, we provide an in-depth discussion of why biracial youth may be particularly vulnerable from a social-constructionist framework and offer several strategies based on narrative family therapy for working with biracial youngsters and their families.

Ancillary