School racial-ethnic discrimination, rule-breaking behaviors and the mediating role of trauma among latinx adolescents: Considerations for school mental health practice

Ana Maria Meléndez Guevara, Rebecca M.B. White, Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, Rajni L. Nair, Kathleen M. Roche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Much of the literature linking adversity to trauma fails to account for racialized experiences, including racial-ethnic discrimination, which is a highly prevalent form of adversity for youth of color in the U.S. Adversity and trauma often result in students experiencing elevated rule-breaking behaviors, exacerbating existing racial-ethnic disparities in disproportionate school discipline. Drawing from race-based trauma theory, the present study explored trauma as a mediator of the longitudinal association between racial-ethnic discrimination from teachers, other adults, and students in schools and rule-breaking behaviors among Latinx youth. Data were from a longitudinal study of 547 Latinx students in a southeastern U.S. state. Across gender and nativity groups, school racial-ethnic discrimination and trauma positively predicted later rule-breaking behaviors. Additionally, for girls only, increased levels of trauma partially explained the association between school racial-ethnic discrimination and rule-breaking behaviors. The study highlights the importance of addressing school racial-ethnic discrimination and trauma in equitable school metal health systems. Indeed, efforts aimed at reducing disproportionate school discipline among Latinx students should focus on reducing their exposure to school racial-ethnic discrimination and increasing access to trauma-informed and restorative justice approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology in the Schools
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • equity
  • racial-ethnic discrimination
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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