"Latinx Adolescents’ Peer Ethnic Discrimination in After-School Activities and Activity Experiences"
Postdoctoral research fellow Mark Vincent B. Yu (left), fifth-year doctoral student Stephanie Soto-Lara (center), and Professor Sandra Simpkins (right) are co-authors of an article in the Journal of Youth Development analyzing peer influence on Latinx youth participation in afterschool activities. First author is Assistant Professor Ting-Lan Ma of Edgewood College, previously a visiting scholar at UCI.
The title of the article is “Latinx Adolescents’ Peer Ethnic Discrimination in After-School Activities and Activity Experiences.”
Yu is a National Science Foundation SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Education at UCI. Under Simpkins’s sponsorship, Yu examines high-quality and culturally responsive math afterschool program practices for under-represented minority youth. Additionally, he collaborates with researchers in the Developing Character Project to explore the development of youth’s character virtues from childhood through adolescence, with particular interest in understanding how afterschool activities help support youth’s positive character development.
Soto-Lara’s research focuses on underrepresented youth, adolescent development, parental support, after-school programs, and culture. She currently is working on the Family Support of Math and Science Motivation project with Dr. Simpkins and a project funded by Mott Foundation to examine ethnic/minority youth participation in after-school programs with Dr. Deborah Vandell and Simpkins. Soto-Lara is specializing in Human Development in Context (HDiC) for her doctoral work. Simpkins serves as her advisor.
Simpkins is a developmental psychologist, studying child and adolescent development. She researches how families, friendships, and social position factors (such as ethnicity and culture) shape adolescents’ organized after-school activities and motivation. She is currently working on research focused on the positive outcomes of youth’s participation in activities as well as the predictors and correlates of high school students’ STEM motivational beliefs. She is co-PI on grants from the John Templeton Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation that study how organized after-school activities support positive development from childhood through young adulthood. Simpkins directs the Center for After School and Summer Excellence (CASE) and Project REACH and co-directs the After School Activities Project.
Grounded in ecological frameworks, this study examines (a) the extent to which Latinx adolescents’ perceptions of peer ethnic discrimination were associated with their participation in organized after-school activities, activity type, and ethnic composition; (b) different patterns of perceived peer ethnic discrimination; and (c) associations between discrimination patterns with key activity experiences including psychological engagement, perceived peer support, perceived leader support, and positive feelings in the activities. Using a pattern-centered approach, we applied latent profile analysis to analyze the data from 204 Latinx adolescents (53% female, M age = 12.40) in Southwest United States. Latinx adolescents who did not participate in organized after-school activities perceived higher peer ethnic discrimination than Latinx adolescents who participated. Latinx adolescents who were the numerical ethnic majority in activities reported lower discrimination than those who were the numerical minority. Among those who participated, 4 patterns of peer ethnic discrimination Latinx adolescents experienced in activities were identified. These profiles included moderate discrimination (4%), minimal discrimination (21%), no discrimination (64%), and somewhat negative beliefs (11%), which were differentially related to adolescents’ activity outcomes. Adolescents in the no discrimination group reported the most positive activity outcomes and those in the moderate discrimination group reported the most negative activity experiences. Adolescents who experienced little discrimination but felt other peers held negative beliefs about their ethnicity reported significantly lower psychological engagement and peer support than the no discrimination group. These findings highlight the importance of examining adolescents’ varying patterns of perceived ethnic discrimination in activities and provides ways that activity practitioners can optimize organized activity settings for Latinx adolescents.