Collaborative Research: Gender, Race, and Identity Development in Black Youth

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

This study is an extension and expansion of a previous longitudinal study examining the transition to middle school among African American youth. This follow-up study concentrates on the simultaneous effects of race-related and gender-related experiences and beliefs in the content domains of English, science, and mathematics. Using both survey and qualitative methods, we will describe normative development in self-concept, stereotypes, motivation, and parenting from fifth through twelfth grade. We will determine whether the advantages gained by girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) areas are maintained as they prepare to move through more advanced coursework and college applications, and what personal, family, and school context factors predict STEM interest and success for both genders.


Child participants were originally recruited in 2003-2005 when they were fifth graders in schools where the majority (i.e., at least 72%) of students were African American. Approximately 385 African American fifth graders were recruited across three cohorts; these youth and their parents and teachers completed surveys a second time when youth were in Grade 7. In the current project, these youth as well as 200 European American youth will complete surveys in Grade 10, and the African American youth will participate again in Grade 12.

Research Design: 

This project uses multiple methods to collect original data. The research is designed to generate descriptive evidence through design research, and ethnography, as well as evidence that is associative/correlational and causal [quasi-experimental; statistical modeling; and synthesis methods are used].

Youth participants will complete the following measures: race and gender stereotypes; race and gender discrimination; academic self-concept; self-esteem; attributional beliefs; classroom engagement; competence, autonomy, and relatedness in specific courses; academic and work interests, activities; achievement. A subsample of these youth will complete qualitative interviews. Parent participants will complete the following measures: race and gender stereotypes, perceptions of the child’s abilities, educational expectations for the child, child’s school engagement, child’s academic and work interests, activities. Teachers will complete measures of the youth’s classroom engagement and their educational expectations of the students.

Data will be analyzed using structural equation modeling and latent growth curve modeling to assess change across time, school and classroom effects, group differences, and relationships among variables. Qualitative interview transcripts will be coded with Atlas Ti.


Findings will be added to this page as they become available.