The Relationship Between the Proportion of Native American Adolescents in Schools and Socio-Emotional Functioning Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Hoffend, Carly Kaye
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • A relationship between racial/ethnic school composition and socio-emotional functioning for Native American adolescents is assumed to exist, but little empirical research is available describing this relationship. Such research could contribute to understanding the school adjustment of these adolescents. The present study examined school composition, social-emotional functioning, and relational experiences with peers, parents, and teachers as contributors to the self-esteem and adjustment. The sample included were a total of 1080 Native American students in grades six through eight from the 19 schools in Robeson County, North Carolina. The Robeson County population is made up of 38.4% Native American and Alaska Native and approximately 96% of residents who identified as Native American specifically identified as being a part of the Lumbee tribe (US Census, 2010a). Data from the adolescents were collected on socio-emotional variables, including adjustment, self-esteem, and perceptions about various peer, parent, and teacher relationship factors. Data were primarily analyzed through Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to examine direct and indirect effects of proportion of Lumbee students on socio-emotional outcomes through social variables. In the present study, no significant relationship was found for the direct pathway from proportion of Lumbee students to the socio-emotional outcomes. Instead, results indicated that social variables were found to mediate the effects between the proportion of Lumbee students in schools and socio-emotional outcomes of self-esteem and adjustment. Namely, Lumbee students who were surrounded by more same race/ethnicity peers in school were more likely to report increased ability to resist peer pressure, stronger feelings of being respected and accepted by friends, and higher levels of trust and confidence in friends. Positive social relationship perceptions, present for students in schools with higher proportions of Lumbee peers, contributed to higher levels of adjustment and self-esteem when teacher and parent support variables were controlled for. The major findings of the current study showed the importance of moving beyond the examination of the direct relationship between school racial/ethnic composition and socio-emotional outcomes. The analyses exposed promising areas for future research, particularly regarding implications for systems-level school interventions for Lumbee Native American adolescents.
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  • In Copyright
  • Wasik, Barbara Hanna
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013

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