220677 Education as a social determinant of adolescent health: Better understanding school climate

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sonia Jain, DrPH , Health and Human Development, WestEd, Oakland, CA
Kevin Huang, PhD , Health and Human Development, WestEd, San Francisco, CA
Thomas Hanson, PhD , Health and Human Development, WestEd, Los Alamitos, CA
Greg Austin, PhD , Health and Human Development, WestEd, Los Alamitos, CA
Background: Despite recognizing education as a social determinant of youth health, few public health investigators have examined variations in school environment across different types of schools (where adolescents spend majority of their time), and its implications on student learning and health.

Methods: Data on 80,736 staff in 4,438 schools in California from the student-reported Healthy Kids Survey, staff-reported School Climate Survey, California Basic Educational Data Systems, and the Academic Performance Index research files for 2005-07 were analyzed to examine differences in staff perceptions of school climate (i.e., safety, academic norms, staff-student relationships, and student learning-facilitative behaviors) by (a) school type (e.g. elementary, middle and high schools), (b) schools with different demographics (urban/rural, racial/ethnic composition, socioeconomic status), (c) low- and high-performing schools, and (d) schools with different levels of school connectedness and school support.

Results: Overall, staff at secondary schools in large urban cities, or at schools with largest percent of low-income students, Hispanic- and Black-majority, low-performing and ones with lowest levels of school connectedness and support reported less positive school climate than their counterparts. But there was no difference in staff/student relationships by school's socioeconomic status, or in norms and safety across high schools in the two lowest performing quintiles. Asian-majority schools had the highest levels of student learning facilitative behaviors, whereas Black-majority schools had lowest levels of academic norms.

Conclusion: Strategies to involve educators within the context of public health to collectively promote healthy schools and communities will be shared.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
· Articulate the value of school environment in promoting youth health, learning and reducing disparities. · Name 3 contextual level factors in the schools. · Understand the inequities in school climate by schools’ racial/ethnic composition, socioeconomic status and other characteristics.

Keywords: Children and Adolescents, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the Co-PI on this school climate study, and oversaw all aspects of the study from planning the research design to conducting all analysis and writing the report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.