Academic Behavior and Performance Among African American Youth: Associations with Resources for Resilience

Ashley A. Chesmore, Willie Winston, Sonya S. Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A social support and coping framework informed the present research on children’s academic behavior and performance. Forty-six African American children aged 8–12 years were recruited from the 2011/2012 enrollment list of a partnering school. Data on children’s resources for resilience (e.g., coping skills, perceived support from caregivers) were collected through administered surveys. Additional data on academic outcomes were collected from children’s progress reports and most recent standardized tests. Children’s resources for resilience were associated with academic outcomes. Among the total sample, greater perceived support from caregivers and behavioral coping by the child were associated with less child-reported school misbehavior and greater teacher-evaluated reading performance. Among African American boys, but not girls, a quarter of the variance in standardized test scores in reading (r = .50 vs. r = .06) and math (r = .55 vs. r = −.01) was explained by behavioral coping. If further research supports the present set of findings, school-based mental health services for families and prevention programs that target children’s use of coping strategies in the presence of stressors may prove beneficial to children’s academic success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalUrban Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016



  • Academics
  • African American
  • Behavior
  • Coping
  • Resilience
  • Social support

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