Examining social capital as a mechanism for improving school engagement among low income hispanic girls

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Abstract

Hispanic females are a rapidly growing population and are now considered the largest group of ethnic minority girls in the United States. Yet research to guide their educational needs remains sparse. Addressing this concern, this investigation incorporated a strengths-based approach for examining school engagement among Hispanic middle school girls. A path model predicting school engagement was tested that included a neighborhood environment variable (e.g., neighborhood dangerousness) and variables to assess social capital (e.g., teacher support, friend support, and parent support). The hypothesized model was found to fit data from the sample and showed the positive and direct effects of teacher support, friend support, and parent support on school engagement, and further demonstrated that the perceived absence of neighborhood dangerousness was positively and directly associated with engagement in school. Implications for school-based interventions for Latina youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-181
Number of pages18
JournalYouth and Society
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Hispanic girls
  • Poverty
  • School engagement
  • Social capital

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