Date of Defense:
Dec. 22, 2014
Background: Research suggests that feeling connected to one’s school during adolescence promotes concurrent and long – term positive youth development (Resnick et al., 1997; Eccles et al., 1993; Osterman, 2000). The scope of research is limited, however, in regards to L atina adolescents and the role of school connectedness in the context of other factors that may uniquely influence the population such as acculturation and family connectedness.
Methods: Using baseline data from the Project Wings Girls’ Group, a school – based mental health promotion pilot program (n=42), t he current study explores the concept of cultural variation in school connectedness. Although not powered to show significance, p – values are reported to explore relationships between variables of interest to inform further research on the topic. The study compares students with high School Connectedness Scores (SCS) to those with low SCS on variables that previous studies have shown are related to school connectedness (extracurricular participation, risk behaviors) as well as cultural and social variables specific to the population (acculturation, family connectedness).
Results: Results show that the High SCS group had higher scores on the American Culture Scales and much lower scores on the Biculturalism scale than did the Low SCS group (p=.05). Interestingly, both High and Low SCS groups had very similar Family Connectedness Score means and little between group difference was seen on extracurricular participation and several health behaviors.
Conclusions: Finding provides further evidence that strong minority cultural identifies conflicts with ability to generalize the feelings of bonding and b elong with institutions of the majority culture. This speaks to the need to ensure that efforts to increase school connectedness are culturally appropriate.