Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety

PS11- #B45 - Youth Spoken Language and Ethnic Identity Associated With Important Protective Factors Against School Refusal Behaviors

Saturday, Nov 18
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adolescents | Anxiety | School

The Department of Education (2016) identified absenteeism as an educational crisis, as 6 million youth missed 15 days of school or more in the 2013-2014 academic year. Previous research has evidenced youth belonging to ethnic minority groups are more likely to have poorer academic outcomes, exhibit problematic absenteeism, and drop-out of school more often compared to their majority peers (Aud et al., 2010; U.S. Department of Education, 2016). The present study utilized the Family Environment Scale (FES; Moos & Moos, 2009) and the School Refusal Assessment Scale-Revised-Child (SRAS-R-C; Kearney, 2006) to determine protective family factors against the school refusal behavior of minority youth. Youth (N=131) between the ages of 11-19 years (M = 15.1) were included in this study. Participants were Hispanic (74.8%), African American (9.9%), Other (5.3%), Multiracial/biracial (4.6%), Asian (3.8%), and Caucasian (1.5%). Many, 45.5% (N = 60), participants were Spanish speaking. Correlation and ANOVA analyses revealed there was a significant main effect of language spoken on achievement orientation scores on the FES. In turn, higher achievement orientation scores on the FES were correlated with lower school refusal perceived tangible rewards (PTR) scores on the SRAS-R-C. Analyses also revealed there was a significant main effect of ethnic identity on expressiveness scores on the FES. In turn, higher expressiveness scores were correlated with lower school refusal escape from aversive social and/or evaluative situations (ESE) scores on the SRAS-R-C. Indicating, (1) youth and their families who speak English tend to value an achievement or competitive framework which becomes a protective factor against youth refusing school to gain a reward outside of school and (2) youth and their families, specifically African Americans, who value directly expressing one’s feelings becomes a protective factor against youth refusing school to escape from aversive social and/or evaluative situations. Results have important implications for the prevention of specific functions of school refusal, particularly in minority youth.

Mirae J. Fornander

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada

Amanda Howard

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Andrew Gerthoffer

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Kyleigh K. Skedgell

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Christopher A. Kearney

University of Nevada, Las Vegas