The Social Costs of Academic Success Across Ethnic Groups

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Psychology (CMC), Claremont McKenna College

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This study explores the longitudinal association between academic achievement and social acceptance across ethnic groups in a nationally representative sample of adolescents (N = 13,570; Mage = 15.5 years). The effects of school context are also considered. Results show that African American and Native American adolescents experience greater social costs with academic success than Whites. Pertaining to school context, findings suggest that the differential social consequences of achievement experienced by African Americans are greatest in more highly achieving schools, but only when these schools have a smaller percentage of Black students. Students from Mexican descent also showed differential social costs with achievement in particular contexts. The implications of these findings to theory, policy, and future research are discussed.

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© 2010 The Authors. Child Development © 2010 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.

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