Articles & Special Issues Child & Youth Well-being

Academic Self-Efficacy Among African American Youth: Implications for School Social Work Practice

School performance among African American youths continues to be a major concern. The promotion of self-esteem remains a major focus of school-based intervention programs designed to improve children’s academic performance and behavior. Empirical data suggest that academic self-efficacy rather than self-esteem is the critical factor for school success, but few studies have examined self-efficacy and self-esteem with an African American population. Furthermore, although school social workers tend to focus on nonacademic factors that inhibit student performance, little is known about how these factors may be associated with academic self-efficacy. This article explored cross-sectional relationships of various factors to academic self-efficacy. Findings suggest that strategies that build a student’s belief in the importance of education may do more to increase academic self-efficacy among African American youths than would a focus on self-esteem. Implications for school social work practice are discussed.

Project: Choices of Life for Adolescence Success (CLASS) Project


Jonson-Reid, M., Davis, L., Saunders, J., Williams, T., & Williams, J. H. (2005). Academic self-efficacy among African American youth: Implications for school social work practice. Children and Schools, 27(1), 5–14. doi:10.1093/cs/27.1.5