Family problems affect African-American children more than other races

Nov 06, 2008

It is a common belief that girls tend to internalize their problems, becoming depressed or anxious, while boys externalize their problems, turning to violence against people or property. A new study in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy found that this idea did not hold for African-American youth who were in the juvenile justice system. For them, whether they internalized or externalized depended not on gender but on what was happening within their families.

Results showed that family dynamics mediated the relationship between gender and mental health issues for African-American court-involved youth. Both girls and boys showed similar levels of externalizing and internalizing behavior, once family dysfunction was taken into account. Such a relationship was not found in White families.

In addition, African-American girls report more externalizing, "acting out" behaviors, than other groups including African-American males, White males and females.

"Families may matter in a different way for African-American youth than what we're finding for White youth," the authors conclude. "We are now trying to identify exactly what is different in African-American families that affects whether youth internalize or externalize problems, and how best to help them. This means identifying those family strengths that buffer against these problem behaviors as well as focusing on family risk factors that increase the likelihood of these difficulties."

Stephen M. Gavazzi of The Ohio State University, Jennifer M. Bostic and Courtney M. Yarcheck of the OSU Center for Family Research, and Ji-Young Lim of Miami University of Ohio examined factors related to gender, race/ethnicity, family factors, and mental health issues is a sample of 2,549 Caucasian and African American youth coming to the attention of juvenile courts.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Liver transplant recipient marks 25th anniversary

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bear cub found dead in Spanish Pyrenees

6 hours ago

A brown bear cub that was part of an effort to reintroduce the species to the Pyrenees mountains has been found dead on the Spanish side of the mountain range, local officials said Monday.

Boy moms more social in chimpanzees

6 hours ago

Nearly four decades of observations of Tanzanian chimpanzees has revealed that the mothers of sons are about 25 percent more social than the mothers of daughters. Boy moms were found to spend about two hours ...

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.