Shaping Student Outcomes: The Relevance of Perceived Discrimination for 2nd Generation Minority Adolescents
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This study investigated the relationship between different sources of discrimination (i.e., societal, institutional, and peer) and academic outcomes (i.e., academic performance, aspirations, and attitude for achievement) among second-generation immigrant high school students (N = 3,115) of several racial/ethnic groups (non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and Other (e.g., Cuban, West-Indian, and Islander identities). Specifically, the impact of race/ethnicity, school climate, and family cohesion on perceived discrimination and academic outcomes was examined. Results indicated that different sources of discrimination had varying effects on academic outcomes. Unexpectedly, perceptions of peer discrimination predicted improved academic performance and greater academic aspirations. As expected, stronger perceived institutional discrimination predicted lower academic performance. Additionally, distinct racial/ethnic self-labels and aspects of school climate, along with family cohesion, uniquely interacted with academic outcomes and sources of discrimination. Notably, a Black self-label moderated the impact of societal discrimination on students’ attitude for academic achievement, while family cohesion moderated its impact on aspirations and attitude for achievement. The findings on the beneficial implications of perceived peer discrimination for academic outcomes contradict prior research. Theoretical models by Bronfenbenner and Garcia Coll and colleagues help contextualize findings for minority adolescents.