Dr. Gabriela Stein (Psychology) and colleagues receive new funding from William T. Grant Foundation

Posted on December 16, 2021

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Dr. Gabriela Stein (Psychology) is lead PI on a new, interdisciplinary research proposal titled: “One Talk at a Time: A racial-ethnic socialization intervention for minoritized families to reduce mental health and academic inequalities.” The William T. Grant Foundation will support the project with a $600,000 grant. Dr. Stein is joined on the project team by co-investigators Dr. Stephanie Coard (Human Development and Family Studies, HHS), Dr. Laura Gonzalez (Teacher Education and Higher Education, School of Education), and Dr. Michelle Martin Romero (Public Health Education, HHS). 

The research team will study how best to prepare parents for racial-ethnic socialization (RES) conversations with their youth. RES messages aim to foster a strong, positive racial-ethnic identity (REI) and help youth of color prepare to cope with future experiences of discrimination. Targeting parental skills and confidence in having RES conversations can be a critical avenue to minimizing the academic and mental health inequalities youth of color may suffer as a result of discriminatory experiences.

In particular, the UNCG researchers will test the effectiveness of a video series program One Talk at a Time/Una Plática a la Vez (OTAAT) that targets parental motivation, skills, and confidence in having RES conversations with their children and fostering meaningful, courageous conversations in families of color (Asian-, Black-, and Latinx American families). The proposed study will test via a randomized effectiveness trial two delivery mechanisms (online vs. group facilitated) of OTAAT relative to treatment as usual (TAU) over a one-year span.

The study will assess the impact of the intervention conditions in terms of youth psychosocial outcomes (mental health and academic functioning) and parental motivation, skill, and confidence, among other factors. Researchers will also examine whether the racial/ethnic group membership, parental immigrant status, and discrimination affect the impact of the interventions. The project will also shed light on whether and how changes in the intervention outcomes lead to improved youth psychosocial outcomes. Read the abstract below.

The William T. Grant Foundation, based in New York, invests in high-quality research focused on reducing inequality in youth outcomes and improving the use of research evidence in decisions that affect young people in the United States.

Proposal Abstract: “One Talk at a Time: A racial-ethnic socialization intervention for minoritized families to reduce mental health and academic inequalities.”

Youth of color in the US face a plethora of mental health and academic inequalities (i.e., Neblett, 2019), which can be explained by the racial/ethnic discrimination and racism they experience relative to White youth. Models of racism have highlighted that rumination and anticipation of future discrimination exert a unique toxic effect on academic outcomes and mental health (i.e., racial vigilance; race rejection sensitivity) (e.g., Harrell et al., 2011; Mendoza-Denton et al., 2002). At the same time, a growing body of research suggests that minoritized youth benefit from targeted parental racial-ethnic socialization (RES) messages that aim to foster a strong, positive racial-ethnic identity (REI) and help youth prepare to cope with future experiences of discrimination (Coard et al., 2004; Hughes et al., 2006; Neblett et al., 2012). However, parents struggle with how to provide balanced messages that attend to developmental readiness, build skills to cope with discrimination, and do not overinflate distrust for other groups (Hughes et al., 2006). New models of RES explicate the important role of parental skills and confidence in having RES conversations as well as the critical component of youth feeling capable of coping with future discriminatory events (RECAST: Anderson & Stevenson, 2019). Thus, RES conversations can mitigate the negative ramifications of racial vigilance and anxiety as youth can be armed with skills necessary to decipher and cope with racialized stressors. Targeting parental skills and confidence in having RES conversations that lead to a child’s sense of competence and efficacy in handling racialized stressors can be a critical avenue to minimize the academic and mental health inequalities that result from discriminatory experiences. To disrupt the negative longitudinal effects of discrimination on youth of color, this proposal tests the effectiveness of a video series program One Talk at a Time/Una Plática a la Vez (OTAAT) that targets parental motivation, skills, and confidence in having RES conversations with their children and fostering meaningful, courageous conversations in families of color (Asian-, Black-, and Latinx American families). The proposed study will test via a randomized effectiveness trial two delivery mechanisms (online vs. group facilitated) of OTAAT relative to treatment as usual (TAU) over a one-year span.

The proposed research has three main aims:
1) Test the impact of the intervention delivered online (OTAAT:OL) or group facilitated (OTAAT: GF) relative to treatment as usual (TAU) across a one-year time span on parental RES and youth outcomes including 1) parental motivation, skill, and confidence 2) cultural socialization and preparation for bias frequency and quality, 3) youth coping with discrimination and REI (exploration, resolution, private and public regard), and 4) youth psychosocial outcomes (mental health and academic functioning) via mixed method multi-informant design (paths a below).

2) Test whether racial/ethnic group membership, parental immigrant status, and racial/ethnic discrimination moderate the impact of the intervention conditions (OTAAT:OL and OTAAT: GF) relative to TAU on the parental and youth intervention targets (paths b).

3) Explore whether and how changes in the proposed parental and youth intervention outcomes (parental motivation, skills, confidence, and frequency/quality; coping and REI) lead to improved youth psychosocial outcomes (mental health and academic functioning) via mixed method multi-informant design (paths c).

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