Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The intersection of school racial composition and student race/ethnicity on adolescent depressive and somatic symptoms


Author Info

  • Walsemann, Katrina M.
  • Bell, Bethany A.
  • Maitra, Debeshi
Registered author(s):


    Schools are one of the strongest socializing forces in the U.S. and wield considerable influence over individuals' social and economic trajectories. Our study investigates how school-level racial composition, measured by the percentage non-Hispanic white students in a school, affects depressive and somatic symptoms among a representative sample of U.S. adolescents, and whether the association differs by race/ethnicity. We analyzed Wave I data from the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, resulting in a sample size of 18,419Â students attending 132Â junior and senior high schools in 1994/5. After controlling for individual and school characteristics, our multilevel analyses indicated that with increasing percentages of white students at their school, black students experienced more depressive symptoms and a higher risk of reporting high levels of somatic symptoms. After including students' perceptions of discrimination and school attachment, the interaction between black student race and school-level racial composition was no longer significant for either outcome. Our findings suggest that attending predominantly-minority schools may buffer black students from discrimination and increase their school attachment, which may reduce their risk of experiencing depressive and somatic symptoms.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 72 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 11 (June)
    Pages: 1873-1883

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:11:p:1873-1883

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:

    Order Information:

    Related research

    Keywords: USA School segregation Mental health Discrimination School attachment School socio-economic status Adolescents Ethnicity;


    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Bradby, Hannah, 2012. "Race, ethnicity and health: The costs and benefits of conceptualising racism and ethnicity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(6), pages 955-958.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:72:y:2011:i:11:p:1873-1883. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.