Discrimination-related stress and behavioral engagement: The moderating effect of positive school relationships

Lauren Rogers-Sirin, Selcuk R. Sirin, Taveeshi Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - This three-wave longitudinal study explored the relation between discrimination-related stress and behavioral engagement among urban African-American and Latino adolescents, and the moderating effect of school-based social support. Design/methodology/approach - A sample of 270 African-American and Hispanic/Latino adolescents attending urban public high schools completed three annual surveys starting with 10th grade. Findings - Growth curve analysis revealed that discrimination-related stress was associated with decreased behavioral engagement over time. School-based social support moderated this effect in that discriminationrelated stress had less of an impact on behavioral engagement as level of school-based social support increased. Practical implications - School-based supportive relationships serve as a protective factor for urban African-American and Latino youth, helping them remain engaged in school as they deal with the negative effects of discrimination-related stress. Originality/value - The findings reveal that the development of positive, supportive relationships in school seems to be a malleable variable that interventionists and educational advocates can focus on in an effort to bolster academic achievement among academically stigmatized youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-29
Number of pages27
JournalSociological Studies of Children and Youth
StatePublished - 2016


  • Behavioral engagementUrban youth
  • Discrimination
  • Social capital
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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