Evaluating Africentric Violence Prevention for Adolescent Black Males in an Urban Public School: An Idiothetic Approach

  • Arthur L. WhaleyEmail author
  • John P. McQueen
Original Paper



Overrepresentation of Black male students among suspensions and expulsions from public schools contribute to negative psychosocial functioning. The Imani Rites of Passage program (IROP), sponsored by Family Renaissance Inc., is a time-limited Africentric intervention, designed to enhance Black male students’ life coping skills to respond more appropriately to negative situations. The study seeks to evaluate an idiothetic approach to behavior change from implementation of the IROP program in a low-income public school, comparing intervention and no-intervention groups on measures informed by the cognitive-cultural model of Black identity.


After informed consent and assent, IROP participants completed online measures of Africentric socialization, individual and cultural identity, social competence, and violence risk using school lab computers, followed by 15 weekly sessions of two hours each of intervention. The hypothesis was that intervention participants (N = 20, mean age = 16.04) at posttest will exhibit greater cultural socialization, stronger racial and individual identity, greater social competence, and reduction in violence risk than no-intervention participants (N = 20, mean age = 15.42).


The findings of the evaluation indicated an Africentrric socialization effect on some predictor variables associated with posttest reductions in violence risk for the intervention group. They provide partial support for hypotheses derived from the cognitive-cultural model.


We conclude that (1) the IROP can be successfully implemented in a public-school setting; (2) intervention effects are partially consistent with the cognitive-cultural model of African American identity: and (3) idiographic and idiothetic approaches are more sensitive to behavior change than the normative type of data analysis.


Africentric intervention Black youth Public school Violence prevention 



The Imani Rites of Passage (IROP) program was provided as an extracurricular school service to East New York Family Academy funded by an award (#CT1 201730609 13) to Family Renaissance, Inc., from the New York City Board of Education (NYCBOE). However, the views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the school or the NYCBOE. We thank the school administration for their support of the program. Dr Whaley’s program evaluation of IROP was an independent service performed pro bono for Family Renaissance, Inc. and was not covered by NYCBOE funding.

Author Contribution

A.L.W. conducted data analyses and wrote manuscript. A.L.W. and J.P.M. contributed to the study design. J.P.M. developed the program curriculum and served as on-site supervisor for program implementation and data collection. JPM approved final draft of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The consent and assessment procedures used in the evaluation of the IROP program received Institutional Review Board approval from Texas Southern University to the first author (A.L.W.).

Informed Consent

Parents or guardians gave informed consent and participants themselves were required to give assent.


  1. Alexander, M. (2010). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, NY: The New Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ashmore, R. D., Deaux, K., & McLaughlin-Volpe, T. (2004). An organizing framework for collective identity: Articulation and significance of multidimensionality. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 80–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ballesteros, M. F., Williams, D. D., Mack, K. A., Simon, T. R., & Sleet, D. A. (2018). The epidemiology of unintentional and violence-related injury morbidity and mortality among children and adolescents in the United States. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(4), 616. Scholar
  4. Bell, C. C. (2017). Lessons learned from 50 years of violence prevention activities in the African American community. Journal of the National Medical Association, 109, 224–237. Scholar
  5. Borum, R., Cornell, D. G., Modzeleski, W., & Jimerson, S. R. (2010). What can be done about school shootings? A review of the evidence. Educational Researcher, 39, 27–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bushman, B. J., Newman, K., Calvert, S. L., Downey, G., Dredge, M., Gottfredson, M., & Romer, D. (2016). Youth violence: What we know and what we need to know. American Psychologist, 71, 17–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carroll, J. D., & Chang, J. J. (1970). Analysis of individual differences in multidimensional scaling via an N-way generalization of “Eckart-Young” decomposition. Psychometrika, 35, 283–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 2nd edn. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Darcy, M., Lee, D., & Tracey, T. J. (2004). Complementary approaches to individual differences using paired comparisons and multidimensional scaling: Applications to multicultural counseling competence. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 51, 139–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ding, C. S. (2006). Multidimensional scaling modelling approach to latent profile analysis in psychological research. International Journal of Psychology, 41, 226–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Galinsky, A. D., Hall, E. V., & Cuddy, A. J. (2013). Gendered races: implications for interracial marriage leadership selection, and athletic participation. Psychological Science, 24, 498–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gilbert, D. J., Harvey, A. R., & Belgrave, F. Z. (2009). Advancing the Africentric paradigm shift discourse: Building toward evidence-based Africentric interventions in social work practice with African Americans. Social Work, 54, 243–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Griffiths, E., & Tita, G. (2009). Homicide in and around public housing: Is public housing a hotbed, a magnet, or a generator of violence for the surrounding community? Social Problems, 56, 474–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harter, S. (1987). The self-perception profile for adolescents. Denver, CO: University of Denver. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  16. Harter, S. (1990). Causes, correlates, and the functional role of global self-worth: a life-span perspective. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Kolligian, Jr (Eds), Competence considered (pp. 67–97). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hofmann, S. G., & Hayes, S. C. (2019). The future of intervention science: Process-based therapy. Clinical Psychological Science, 7, 37–50. Scholar
  18. Jackson, K. F., Hodge, D. R., & Vaughn, M. G. (2010). A meta-analysis of culturally sensitive interventions designed to reduce high-risk behaviors among African American youth. Journal of Social Service Research, 36, 163–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones, S. C., & Neblett, E. W. (2016). Racial-ethnic protective factors and mechanisms in psychosocial prevention and intervention programs for Black youth. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 19, 134–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kemal, S., Sheehan, K., & Feinglass, J. (2018). Gun carrying among freshmen and sophomores in Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles public schools: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2007–2013. Injury Epidemiology, 5(Suppl 1), 12. Scholar
  21. Kim, S. K., Davison, M. L., & Frisby, C. L. (2007). Confirmatory factor analysis and profile analysis via multidimensional scaling. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 42, 1–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kim, S. K., Frisby, C. L., & Davison, M. L. (2004). Estimating cognitive profiles using profile analysis via multidimensional scaling (PAMS). Multivariate Behavioral Research, 39, 595–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kruskal, J. B. & Wish, M. (1978). Multidimensional scaling. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  24. Kubrin, C. E., & Weitzer, R. (2003). Retaliatory homicide: concentrated disadvantage and neighborhood culture. Social Problems, 50, 157–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kupchik, A., & Catlaw, T. J. (2015). Discipline and participation: the long-term effects of suspension and school security on the political and civic engagement of youth. Youth & Society, 47, 95–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mattison, E., & Aber, M. S. (2007). Closing the achievement gap: the association of racial climate with achievement and behavioral outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 40, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Metzger, I., Cooper, S. M., Zarrett, N., & Flory, K. (2013). Culturally sensitive risk behavior prevention programs for African American adolescents: a systematic analysis. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 16, 187–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morris, E. W., & Perry, B. L. (2016). The punishment gap: School suspension and racial disparities in achievement. Social Problems, 63, 68–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Multisite Violence Prevention Project. (2008). The Multisite Violence Prevention Project: impact of a universal school-based violence prevention program on social-cognitive outcomes. Prevention Science, 9, 231–244. Scholar
  30. Myerson, J., Rank, M. R., Raines, F. Q., & Schnitzler, M. A. (1998). Race and general cognitive ability: the myth of diminishing returns to education. Psychological Science, 9, 139–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Noltemeyer, A. L., Ward, R. M., & McLoughlin, C. (2015). Relationship between school suspension and student outcomes: a meta-analysis. School Psychology Review, 44, 224–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Okonofua, J. A., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2015). Two strikes: race and the disciplining of young students. Psychological Science, 26, 617–624. Scholar
  33. Okonofua, J. A., Walton, G. M., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2016). A vicious cycle: a social-psychological account of extreme racial disparities in school discipline. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 381–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Olbert, C. M., Nagendra, A., & Buck, B. (2018). Meta-analysis of Black vs. White racial disparity in schizophrenia diagnosis in the United States: do structured assessments attenuate racial disparities? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 127, 104–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rodney, L. W., Johnson, D. L., & Srivastava, R. P. (2005). The impact of culturally relevant violence prevention models on school-age youth. Journal of Primary Prevention, 26, 439–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rosenberg, M. (1989). Society and the adolescent self-image, rev. edn. Middletown, C. T.: Wesleyan University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Rosenbloom, S. R., & Way, N. (2004). Experiences of discrimination among African American, Asian American and Latino adolescents in an urban high school. Youth & Society, 35, 420–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Scotham, K. W., Sellers, R. M., & Ngyuen, H. X. (2008). A measure of racial identity in African American adolescents: The development of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity—Teen. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14, 297–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Snowden, L. R., Hastings, J. F., & Alvidrez, J. (2009). Overrepresentation of Black Americans in psychiatric inpatient care. Psychiatric Services, 60, 779–785.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. Stephan, W. G., & Rosenfield, D. (1982). Racial and ethnic stereotypes. In A. G. Miller (Ed.), In the eye of the beholder: contemporary issues in stereotyping (pp. 92–126). New York, NY: Praeger.Google Scholar
  41. Stevenson, H. C.Jr. (1994). Validation of the scale of racial socialization for African American adolescents: Steps toward multidimensionality. Journal of Black Psychology, 20, 445–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stevenson, H. C.Jr. (1997). “Missed, dissed, and pissed”: Making meaning of neighborhood risk, fear and anger management in urban Black youth. Cultural Diversity and Mental Health, 3, 37–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stevenson, H. C.Jr., Cameron, R., Herrero-Taylor, T., & Davis, G. Y. (2002). Development of the Teenager Experience of Racial Socialization Scale: Correlates of race-related socialization frequency from the perspective of Black youth. Journal of Black Psychology, 28, 84–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stevenson, H. C., Reed, J., Bodison, P., & Bishop, A. (1997). Racism stress management: racial socialization beliefs and the experience of depression and anger in African American youth. Youth & Society, 29, 197–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stewart, P. K., Roberts, M. C., & Kim, K. L. (2010). The psychometric properties of the Harter Self-Perception Profile for Children with at-risk African American females. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 326–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Takane, Y., Young, F. W., & De Leeuw, J. (1977). Nonmetric individual differences multidimensional scaling: An alternating least squares method with optimal scaling features. Psychometrika, 42, 7–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Triplett, N. P., Allen, A., & Lewis, C. W. (2014). Zero tolerance, school shootings, and the post-Brown quest for equity in discipline policy: an examination of how urban minorities are punished for white suburban violence. The Journal of Negro Education, 83, 352–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Turcotte, B. F., Amanullah, S., Linakis, J. G., & Ranney, M. (2016). Emergency department utilization among assault-injured youth: Implications for youth violence screening. Pediatric Emergency Care, 33, 607–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vaughn, M. G., Salas-Wright, C. P., DeLisi, M., & Maynard, B. R. (2014). Violence and externalizing behavior among youth in the United States: Is there a severe 5%? Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 12(1), 3–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ward, J. (1995). Cultivating a morality of care in African American adolescents: a culture-based model of violence prevention. Harvard Educational Review, 65, 175–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Whaley, A. L. (1992). A culturally sensitive approach to the prevention of interpersonal violence among urban black youth. Journal of the National Medical Association, 84, 585–588.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  52. Whaley, A. L. (1998). Racism in the provision of mental health services: a social-cognitive analysis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 68, 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Whaley, A. L. (2003). Cognitive-cultural model of identity and violence prevention for African American youth. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 129, 101–151.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Whaley, A. L. (2016). Identity conflict in African Americans during late adolescent and early adulthood: Double consciousness, multicultural, and Africentric perspectives. Africology, 9(7), 106–131.Google Scholar
  55. Whaley, A. L., & Davis, K. E. (2007). Cultural competence and evidence-based practice in mental health services: A complementary perspective. American Psychologist, 62, 563–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Whaley, A. L., & Dubose, J. (2018). Intersectionality of ethnicity/race and gender in African American college students’ presenting problems: a profile analysis using non-metric multidimensional scaling. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 40, 279–297. Scholar
  57. Whaley, A. L., & McQueen, J. P. (2004). An Afrocentric program as primary prevention for African American youth: Qualitative and quantitative exploratory data. Journal of Primary Prevention, 25, 253–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Whaley, A. L., & McQueen, J. P. (2010). Evaluating cohort and intervention effects on Black adolescents’ ethnic-racial identity: A cognitive-cultural approach. Evaluation and Program Planning, 33, 436–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Whaley, A. L., McQueen, J. P., & Oudkerk, L. (2017). Effects of Africentric socialization on psychosocial outcomes in Black girls: The critical role of gender. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 26, 289–306. Scholar
  60. Whaley, A. L., & Smyer, D. A. (1998). Self-evaluation processes of African American youth in a high school completion program. Journal of Psychology, 132, 317–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wichstraum, L. (1995). Harter’s self-perception profile for adolescents: reliability, validity, and evaluation of the question format. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65, 100–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Yeager, D. S., Dahl, R. E., & Dweck, C. S. (2018). Why interventions to influence adolescent behavior often fail but could succeed. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13, 101–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research/Evaluation ConsultantHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Family Renaissance, Inc.BrooklynUSA

Personalised recommendations