A conceptual framework for understanding the strengths of black youths

Guerda Nicolas, Janet E. Helms, Maryam M. Jernigan, Theresa Sass, Adrienne Skrzypek, Angela M. Desilva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The strengths of Black youths lie in their abilities to resist the barriers that they encounter in the various environments in which they exist. Yet the media and social science literature have defined the youths in terms of the pathology of their environments rather than focusing on the assets that Black youths use in such environments. Thus, terms such as inner city, urban, and at-risk are used as proxies for the youths' personality attributes and themes, such as violence, substance abuse, school underachievement, and family instability are used to define their life experiences. In doing so, the literature suggests that the negative behaviors that it ascribes to Black youths are normative in actuality. In this article, a new framework for understanding the assets of Black youths is provided. The framework highlights the role of racial socialization in the youths' development of strengths that allow them to cope effectively with barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-280
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Black
  • Resistance
  • Strengths
  • Youths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'A conceptual framework for understanding the strengths of black youths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this