School Racial Segregation and the Health of Black Children

Few researchers have evaluated whether school racial segregation, a key manifestation of structural racism, affects child health, despite its potential impacts on school quality, social networks, and stress from discrimination. We investigated whether school racial segregation affects Black children’s health and health behaviors.

Results: In instrumental variables models, a one standard deviation increase in school segregation was associated with increased behavioral problems (2.53 points on a 27-point scale; 95% CI, 0.26 to 4.80), probability of having ever drunk alcohol (0.23; 95% CI, 0.049 to 0.42), and drinking at least monthly (0.20; 95% CI, 0.053 to 0.35). School segregation was more strongly associated with drinking behaviors among girls.

WHY THIS ARTICLE IS WORTH READING: Yes, we still have many segregated school districts…School segregation was associated with worse outcomes on several measures of well-being among Black children, which may contribute to health inequities across the lifespan. These results highlight the need to promote school racial integration and support Black youth attending segregated schools. Observational Study.

 Abstract/Full Text

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