It Takes a village: Protecting rural African American youth in the context of racism

Cady Berkel, Velma Mc Bride Murry, Tera R. Hurt, Yi Fu Chen, Gene H. Brody, Ronald L. Simons, Carolyn Cutrona, Frederick X. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Prior research demonstrates negative consequences of racism, however, little is known about community, parenting, and intrapersonal mechanisms that protect youth. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study illuminated linkages between positive and negative contextual influences on rural African American adolescent outcomes. Quantitative results provide support for Structural Ecosystems Theory, in that the influence of discrimination and collective socialization on adolescent outcomes was mediated by racial socialization and positive parenting. Parenting and community influences contributed to adolescent racial identity and self image, which protected against common negative responses to racism; including academic underachievement, succumbing to peer pressure, and aggressive tendencies. Qualitative results indicate that current measures of discrimination may underestimate adolescents' experiences. Adolescents reported racist experiences in the domains of school, peers, and with the police (males only). Moreover, qualitative findings echoed and expanded quantitative results with respect to the importance of the protective nature of parents and communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-188
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Adolescents
  • African American
  • Community influences
  • Focus groups
  • Gender differences
  • Mixed methods
  • Parenting
  • Racial identity
  • Racial socialization
  • Racism
  • Rural
  • SEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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