Contextual Influences on Children's Identity Development (2017-2018)

Children’s academic identity has important implications for their academic outcomes and schooling attainment. The more children perceive school as an important part of who they are (academic identity), the higher their grades, motivation and classroom participation—and the lower their chances for dropping out and participating in deviant behaviors.

Additionally, youths’ racial identity—their psychological orientation toward being their race, especially for youth of color—has important associations for youths’ thoughts about themselves, their future and their lives. Children with a positive racial identity are more likely to have higher schooling achievement and attainment as well as exhibit positive schooling behaviors.

This project team examined the relation between youths’ schooling experiences and their academic and racial identity, considering how school type (charter, public, private) and schooling experiences (teacher-student relationship) contribute to identity development. The team also investigated how children’s participation in community organizations associates with their racial and academic identity, exploring practices, strategies and activities used by community organizations to engage youth.

Using a mixed methods and comparative approach, the team collected quantitative data from fifth- through eighth-graders and conducted 30-45 minute interviews with third- through eighth-graders and school staff. The team created a research brief that was disseminated to their community partners and developed two manuscripts for publication. Data collected was also used to inform a grant application for similar research.


Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

Team Outcomes

Contextual Influences on Children’s Identity and Development (talk by Victoria Prince, Kalito Luna and Julia Sutherland), EHDx, April 19, 2018

Contextual Influences on Children’s Identity and Development (poster by Kamilah Legette, Victoria Prince, Amy Jiang, Kalito Luna, Malini Mehta, Julia Sutherland), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018, and EHDx, April 19, 2019; winner of Best Education & Human Development Poster

Kamilah B. Legette, Andrew Supple, Johari Harris, Amy G. Halberstadt. Teachers' Racialized Anger: Implications for Discipline Disparities. 2023. Journal of School Psychology.

Presentation at 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (April 13-17, 2018, New York, NY)

Project team website

This Team in the News

Bass Connections Showcase Presents Research Highlights from Durham to Malaysia

Third Annual EHDx Talks Celebrates Student Research

This project team was originally part of the Education & Human Development theme of Bass Connections, which ended in 2022. See earlier related team, Schooling and Parenting: Implications for Students' Academic Identity (2016-2017).

Kalito Luna and Victoria Prince at EHDx in April 2018.

Team Leaders

  • Jennifer Lansford, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Kamilah Legette, Social Science Research Institute

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Ashley Jeffers, Theater Studies (AB)
  • Amy Jiang, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Kalito Luna, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Malini Mehta, Biology (BS)
  • Victoria Prince, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Nicholas Simmons, GCS in Literature Program (AB)
  • Julia Sutherland, Public Policy Studies (AB), Political Science (AB2)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Angel Harris, Arts & Sciences-Sociology