Researchers have identified numerous risk and protective factors that might provide insight into the academic difficulties and success that Hispanic adolescents experience. Maladjusted outcomes cannot be attributed to a single risk factor; risk factors do not act in isolation and often have complex relationships with other risk factors. This study uses an ecological risk factor model that suggests that there are multiple risk factors related to adolescent being placed in an alternative education setting and that these risk factors exist at six levels: community-based factors, school-based factors, peer-based factors, family-based factors, child’s perception factors, and acculturation-based factors.
The purpose of this study is to examine differences in the protective and risk factors in the area of family, community, school, peers, child’s perception, and acculturation levels between Hispanic males who have been placed in DAEP (Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement) and their same aged Hispanic male peers who have not been previously placed in the DAEP. The sample for this study (N=119) was collected from a large urban school district in Texas. The participants were seventh and eighth graders between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age. The non-DAEP group was comprised of a majority of 7th grade students (71.7%), while the DAEP group had a larger number of 8th grade students (62.7%).
This study addressed four research questions. The first question investigated if there was a difference between the two groups when the ecological levels where combined to create a cumulative risk score. The non-DAEP group had significantly lower cumulative risk scores than the DAEP. The second research question investigated if there was a difference in each cumulative risk index (i.e., family, school, peers, community, child’s perception, and acculturation) between the two groups. There was no significant difference found between the non-DAEP and DAEP group for family-based risk scores or the child’s perception risk scores; however, a significant difference was found between the two groups on the peer-based, community-based, acculturation-based, and school-based factors. The third question examined the unique contribution school, peers, community, family, and acculturation makes in the prediction of the child’s perception factor for Hispanic males. A hierarchical multiple regression suggested only the community-based, family-based, and acculturation-based variables made a significant contribution to the child’s perception factor. The fourth question examined if the child’s perception factor mediated the relationship between placement in the DAEP and the family-based, community-based, peer-based, school-based, and acculturation-based factors. The effects of the five variables on group placement and child’s perception factors were assessed through the use of structural equation modeling using the program AMOS. (Analysis of Movement Structures; See Figure 2).