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Fear as a Barrier to Success for Students of Color

A study done by youth researchers cites fear as a major barrier to wellness for students of color.(Pixabay)
A study done by youth researchers cites fear as a major barrier to wellness for students of color.
(Pixabay)
January 4, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. – A study done by youth researchers cites fear as a major barrier to wellness for students of color. Youth of color represent the fastest-growing segment of the United States' child population, and, according to America's Promise Alliance, fear, in addition to less access to opportunities, place this group at an increased risk for poor health.

Linda Sprague Martinez, a research fellow with the Center for Promise, and the primary author of Barriers to Wellness: Voices and Views from Young People in Five Cities, said young researchers in five large cities talked to people of their own age to find out what makes them afraid. The top answers were: police interaction, community violence, lack of food, drug use, and not enough access to college. Sprague Martinez said racism also was cited.

"If I'm going to cross over from my side of the neighborhood to another side of the neighborhood that's a difficult choice to make because there could be a number of hazards that I would run into, or violence that I might experience just from moving from one side of the community to another side of the community," she explained.

The research was done in Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, St. Paul and Denver. Sprague Martinez said the answers were very similar in each city.

She believes media coverage of violence isn't always balanced.

"We have a lot of shootings and violence that don't make the news in terms of what we hear, so if we use only what makes the news as kind of our thermometer around community violence, we miss a lot, particularly in communities of color," she said.

Sprague Martinez said fear and stress can have a negative effect on the body, leaving young people and adults alike at greater risk of chronic disease.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NC