Understanding Implicit Racial Bias and Disciplinary Decision-Making in School Mental Health Professionals

Sophia M Hoffman, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study investigated implicit racial bias in school mental health professionals; in particular, the way that implicit bias may be present in school mental health professionals and the way bias might affect discipline decision-making in early childhood education. Participants (N = 127) were randomized to a vignette about a black or white male student's behaviors in a classroom and asked to rate the behaviors on a scale shown to predict preschool expulsion (the PERM). Next, they were asked to complete an implicit association task (IAT) to measure their level of implicit bias. There were three questions: (1) Do participants' implicit racial biases (as indicated by scores on the IAT) have an effect on their ratings of disruptive preschool behavior; (2) Does the race of the child in the vignette have an effect on their ratings of disruptive preschool behavior? (3) Do participants' implicit racial biases have a greater effect on their ratings of disruptive preschool behavior of black males compared with white males? The main findings were: Participants showing implicit racial bias on the implicit association task rated the behaviors in the vignette as more severe overall, regardless of race of the child in the vignette. Race of the child in the vignette did not account for higher PERM scores. The race of the child in the vignette did not moderate the relationship between the PERM scores and the IAT scores.

Subject Area

Education|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Hoffman, Sophia M, "Understanding Implicit Racial Bias and Disciplinary Decision-Making in School Mental Health Professionals" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13884893.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI13884893

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