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Teen-agers attending 1999 Forum
Community Colloquium

Teen-agers attending 1999 Forum Community Colloquium

1999 Kent Psychology Forum

Forging Links:
Clinical and Developmental Perspectives on
African American Children

Angela M. Neal-Barnett, Ph.D., Chairperson

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Forum Contributors, Chapter Titles and Brief Chapter Descriptions

Daniel, Ph.D.

Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel

Spirituality in the
Lives of Black Female Adolescents:
An Exploration of
Sources and Impact

This is a retrospective study of Black women students enrolled in major law schools in New England city. memories of childhood and adolescent life experiences were collected in semi-structured interviews, varying in length from one to two hours. The general goal of the study was to identify factors including persons and experiences which may have contributed to their academic success. Spirituality was a common theme in all the interviews. The chapter will delineate the sources of spirituality as well as deconstruct the particular attributes and meanings of spirituality in their respective lives. Implications for research and practice will be discussed.
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Jenkins, Ph.D.

Violence and Trauma
in the Lives of Stress in
African-American Children

Black youth have a relatively high level of violence exposure as victim and witness of violence with serious implications for both their current behavior and future development. The proposed chapter examines the prevalence and trends in black youth's witnessing of violence and their personal victimization both in and outside of the home, and including physical and sexual abuse. The chapter explores the literature on the impact of that violence exposure and how it affects and is affected by developmental level. There is a special emphasis on gender issues, and the role of violence exposure as a mediator of aggressive behavior. Treatment and intervention approaches that recognize the cultural and social reality of black children will be offered, with special consideration to building resilience in high risk youth.
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Deborah J.

Dr. Johnson

Contextual Influences on
African American
Children's Racial Coping in
Middle Childhood

This study explores the school and community level influences on third grade children's expressed racial coping strategies. School climate and community influences are powerfully linked to the development of children's competencies and social skills (Fisher, Jackson, & Villarruel, 1998; Parke & Buriel, 1998). The broad constructs of school absences and poverty levels are used as proxies for school climate and community vulnerabilities, respectively. These variables are likely reflective of variations in school quality and the ability of communities to foster resilience in school-aged children. High absenteeism is an indicator of poor school climate, lack of order and discipline, poor sense of school community (National Research Council, 1989). Poverty as a school-wide variable rather than an individual, family level variable may indicate the community context within which the school exists. Four typologies have been based on school absences and relative poverty level in the school. These typologies are hypothesized to have differing impact on the development of children's racial coping as potentially protective insulation buffering school and/or community based experiences or anticipated prejudice. In addition, the quality of the school climate either providing less buffering more protection for children, will determine whether children's strategies reflect more passive or confrontational or more negotiation based coping. The differing contexts will also have an effect on the development of problem-focused and emotion-focused strategies, such that motion focused strategies will be more plentiful in more protective settings. The participants are 2022 third grade African American children across 4 years located in a large metropolitan midwestern school district. Children were located in two types of schools, those that participated in a school-wide intervention and those that did not participate in that intervention.
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Waldo E.
Johnson, Jr.

The Determinants of
Paternal Involvement among
Young Unwed Fathers
and the
Consequences for Child Well-Being

Systematic study on the influence and effects of paternal involvement has expanded over the past decade (Lamb, 1997) and it is presumed positive for child well-being and family formation. Diversity among fathers and their paternal role statuses affect their capacities to provide and sustain involvement (Pleck, 1997). Empirical evidence supporting the presumed positive effects of paternal involvement on child well-being is ambiguous. Paternal role functioning among young unwed fathers has received limited systematic inquiry. this chapter seeks to better understand how young unwed fathers undertake paternal involvement. Developmental theories suggest that fatherhood is best assumed subsequent to the transition into adulthood. Premature fatherhood minimizes the chances for a smooth transition (Elster and Lamb, 1982) while out-of-wedlock fatherhood truncates paternal involvement. Implications for intervention and policy practices are discussed.
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Lambert, Ph.D.

Appropriate Defining,
Quantifying and
Assessing Strengths in
Psychopathology in

History, and the sociocultural mores in engenders, provides African American children with unique strengths, but society presents them with distinct challenges. Clinicians serving these youngsters must address these strengths and challenges to understand how they influence developmental psychopathology in this population. lack of theoretical and empirical literature and insufficiency of assessment procedures designed for and standardized on African American youngsters, further complicates this task. This chapter reviews existing literature on strengths and psychopathology of African American youngsters, assessment of these constructs, and discusses treatment from a strength-based perceptive. It highlights the acute need for further research on African American youngsters.
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Angela M.
Neal-Barnett, Ph.D.

Angela M.
Neal-Barnett, Ph.D.

Acting White and the
Experience of Fear:
Social Anxiety Among
African American
Children and Adolescents

The accusation of "acting white" is one of the most negative evaluative messages an African American child can receive from his or her peers. Clinical observations and exploratory research suggests that many children who have been accused of acting white experience high levels of social anxiety. Given these findings, the question arises as to the role race based negative evaluations play in the development of social anxiety. In this chapter, I examine the experience of acting white and social anxiety development. Specifically, I examine how a child's ethnic identity and socialization by parent(s) might facilitate or protect one from the development of social anxiety.
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Sellers, Ph.D.

A Multi-dimensional
Approach to
Racial Identity;
Implications for
African-American Children

The present chapter uses the Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity (MMRI) as a conceptual framework for understanding the successful development of African American adolescents. The MMRI is a model developed by Sellers and his colleagues to represent the significance and meaning that African Americans place on race in defining themselves. The MMRI delineates three dimensions: racial centrality; racial regard; and racial ideology. The chapter examines potential pathways between the various dimension of racial identity and adolescents' psychological functioning and well-being. Implication for potential psychological interventions are also discussed.
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Stadulis, Ph.D.
Robert Stadulis, Ph.D.

Angela M.
Neal-Barnett, Ph.D.
Angela M.
Neal-Barnett, Ph.D.


Dr. Gary Waters

Values, Aspirations and
Motives of
African American
Children Relative to Sport

Sport has often been perceived as the panacea for such troubled youth. Such a perception grows out of the philosophy that sport is a major contributor, through social learning opportunities, of society's values to children (Coakley, 1998). For North American males especially, sportsman role models are an important contributor to adult career aspirations (Leonard, 1993). However, for African-American males in particular, evidence is strong that black professional sportsmen serve as exclusive role models whereas the white cohorts broaden their range of role models to include a variety of additional occupational options (Castine & Roberts, 1974). Guttman (1988) has assailed this exclusive modeling by black males as a "folk belief" that sport is an "accessible avenue for increasing socio-economic status." As many have noted, e.g. Edwards (1988), Guttman (1988), there are very few opportunities for professional sport careers for 30 million people. The purpose of the proposed chapter is to focus upon the role of sport in the development of occupational goals and societal values within African American children, especially males. The existing literature will be reviewed, data from an ongoing study will be reported and recommendations will be made regarding the potential of youth sports to promote values.
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Taylor, Ph.D.

The Impact of Poverty on
Psychological Well-being

In the manuscript I review literature examining the association of families' economic resources and status with the psychological well-being of African-American adolescents. The work is guided by a conceptual model suggesting that families' economic resources effect adolescents through links to parents' psychological functioning and parenting practices. Thus, research suggest that economic disadvantage is associated with psychological distress and problem behavior in parents. The psychological well-being of economically distressed parents is at risk at least partially because of the stressful experiences often associated with economic disadvantage. Lower psychological functioning in parents, in turn is linked to less adequate parenting, including low support and warmth and harsher treatment of children and adolescents. Less adequate parenting is associated with lower functioning in adolescents including increases in problem behavior, psychological distress and lower autonomy and independence. Potential moderators of the effects of stressors on parents, and moderators of the impact of less adequate parenting on adolescents are discussed. Finally, implications of the work for prevention and intervention are discussed.
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[Return to Forum Information]
Prepared for Dr. Neal-Barnett by:
Martha E. Banks, Ph.D.
Rosalie J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
ABackans Diversified Computer Processing, Inc.
P. O. Box 1017
Uniontown, OH 44685-1017

Copyright 1998-9
Angela M. Neal-Barnett, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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