Race and Socioeconomic Status Effects on School Psychologists’ Understanding of Problematic Behavior
Racial and socioeconomic (SES) stereotyping negatively impacts Black and low-SES individuals, and this impact is observed widely in schools. The present study attempts to disentangle the variables of race and SES in educational inequalities, and to explore the specific role of school psychologists. Participants included 218 school psychologists and school psychology interns (93% female, 87.1% White). Participants were given two vignettes involving sixth grade boys’ problematic behavior and then asked a series of questions. One vignette described unengaged and depressed behaviors, and the other described behaviors indicative of physical aggression and ADHD. Student race (Black or White) and SES (low or high) was manipulated and counterbalanced between participants. For the aggressive vignette, low-SES students’ behavior was rated as more inattentive, more stable, more likely due to situational causes, less depressed, and less likely to meet criteria for ADHD than the identical behavior of high-SES students. Black students’ behavior was rated as less aggressive and more likely due to situational causes than the identical behavior of White students. For the unengaged vignette, low-SES students’ behavior was rated as more depressed, more stable, more likely to meet criteria for depression and intellectual disability, less inattentive and less likely to be due to situational or dispositional causes than the identical behavior of high-SES students. Black students’ behavior was rated as less likely to require an alternate placement than the behavior of White students. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.
Psychology|Education|Multicultural Education|Educational psychology|School counseling
Buckley, Michaela, "Race and Socioeconomic Status Effects on School Psychologists’ Understanding of Problematic Behavior" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28257564.