The relationship between perceived discrimination, economic pressure, depressive symptoms, and educational attainment of ethnic minority emerging adults: the moderating role of school connectedness during adolescence
Rising rates of the ethnic minority population in the United States have resulted in a plethora of research addressing minority adolescents' and adults' experiences with stress and discrimination as they reside in the United States. While many studies have focused on the negative impact of both racial discrimination and economic stress that can lead to poorer psychological and academic outcomes, fewer studies have addressed protective factors that can help them to cope with these negative experiences over time. Utilizing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a longitudinal study that examines adolescents and their families, this study extended the current state of the literature by examining the relationship between discrimination, economic pressure, depressive symptoms and educational attainment using a national representative, multiethnic sample. In addition, the moderating role of school connectedness on adolescents' psychological well-being and later educational attainment during emerging adulthood was also addressed. Overall, school connectedness did not buffer the relationship between perceived discrimination and depressive symptoms or educational attainment. Similarly, school connectedness did not buffer the relationships between economic pressure and depressive symptoms, nor its relationship with educational attainment. School connectedness had an interaction on the relationship between depressive symptoms and educational attainment, and the nature of its interaction effect was discussed. The present study also compared and found both gender and ethnic differences on the aforementioned relationships among African American, Latino American, and Asian American adolescents. Further research on these relationships, as well as implications for interventions that serve ethnic minority adolescents, are discussed.