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Level of Voice and Self-Construal Among African-American Middle and High School Students

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024846/00001

Material Information

Title: Level of Voice and Self-Construal Among African-American Middle and High School Students
Physical Description: 1 online resource (78 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Crawford, Yashica
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: african, high, level, middle, self
Educational Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Educational Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between level of voice and self-construal among African-American adolescents. Level of voice is a person?s ability to express his or her true opinions to significant people in his or her life (Harter, 1996). Self-construal is a perception that a person has about how separate or connected he or she is with others (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). These two constructs were examined with regards to participant?s relationships with their parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. The secondary purpose of this study was to identify whether self-construal was a predictor of level of voice. Level of voice was measured using the Teenage Voice Survey (Harter, 1996). This survey measured student?s perceptions of their level of voice, their reasons for not expressing their true voice, and the support for their voice that they may receive from others. Self-construal was measured using the Self-Construal Survey (Singelis, 1994). Analysis indicated that there were no significant interactions for gender, grade level, independent self-construal, and interdependent self-construal for each of the relational contexts. Within the female relational context, students who perceived themselves as being high in independence and high in interdependence, as well as students who perceived themselves as being high in independence but low in interdependence had the highest level of voice with their female classmates. For the parent and female classmates relational context, mean scores on level of voice were significantly higher for high independent students than for low independent students, which indicate that these students were more likely to perceive themselves as having a high level of voice with their parents and female classmates if they identified as highly independent in their relationships in general. Level of voice was not significantly correlated with either independent self-construal or interdependent self-construal for the parent, teacher, and male classmates relational contexts. Level of voice was significantly correlated with Support for Voice within the parent and teacher relational contexts, but not for the male classmates and female classmates relational contexts. A multiple regression analysis was used to assess whether Reasons (as a whole), Support for Voice, and self-construal were adequate predictors of level of voice with this population. The results indicated that although the model was significant across relational contexts, the variable that contributed the most to the predictability of level of voice differed. For the parent relational context, independent self-construal and Support for Voice made the most significant contribution in predicting level of voice. For the teachers relational context, Support for Voice made the most significant contribution. For the male classmates relational context, Reasons made the most significant contribution. Lastly, for the female relational context, independent self-construal made the most significant contribution.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Yashica Crawford.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Franks, Bridget A.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2011-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024846:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0024846/00001

Material Information

Title: Level of Voice and Self-Construal Among African-American Middle and High School Students
Physical Description: 1 online resource (78 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Crawford, Yashica
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: african, high, level, middle, self
Educational Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Educational Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The primary purpose of this study was to identify the relationship between level of voice and self-construal among African-American adolescents. Level of voice is a person?s ability to express his or her true opinions to significant people in his or her life (Harter, 1996). Self-construal is a perception that a person has about how separate or connected he or she is with others (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). These two constructs were examined with regards to participant?s relationships with their parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. The secondary purpose of this study was to identify whether self-construal was a predictor of level of voice. Level of voice was measured using the Teenage Voice Survey (Harter, 1996). This survey measured student?s perceptions of their level of voice, their reasons for not expressing their true voice, and the support for their voice that they may receive from others. Self-construal was measured using the Self-Construal Survey (Singelis, 1994). Analysis indicated that there were no significant interactions for gender, grade level, independent self-construal, and interdependent self-construal for each of the relational contexts. Within the female relational context, students who perceived themselves as being high in independence and high in interdependence, as well as students who perceived themselves as being high in independence but low in interdependence had the highest level of voice with their female classmates. For the parent and female classmates relational context, mean scores on level of voice were significantly higher for high independent students than for low independent students, which indicate that these students were more likely to perceive themselves as having a high level of voice with their parents and female classmates if they identified as highly independent in their relationships in general. Level of voice was not significantly correlated with either independent self-construal or interdependent self-construal for the parent, teacher, and male classmates relational contexts. Level of voice was significantly correlated with Support for Voice within the parent and teacher relational contexts, but not for the male classmates and female classmates relational contexts. A multiple regression analysis was used to assess whether Reasons (as a whole), Support for Voice, and self-construal were adequate predictors of level of voice with this population. The results indicated that although the model was significant across relational contexts, the variable that contributed the most to the predictability of level of voice differed. For the parent relational context, independent self-construal and Support for Voice made the most significant contribution in predicting level of voice. For the teachers relational context, Support for Voice made the most significant contribution. For the male classmates relational context, Reasons made the most significant contribution. Lastly, for the female relational context, independent self-construal made the most significant contribution.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Yashica Crawford.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Franks, Bridget A.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2011-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0024846:00001


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1 LEVEL OF VOICE AND SELF-CONSTRUAL AMONG AFRICAN-AMERICAN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS By YASHICA J. CRAWFORD A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009

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2 2009 Yashica J. Crawford

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3 To Cesnae Sr., Cesnae Jr., and London

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank m y family and friends for being a con tinuing source of support for me as I continue to pursue my educational goals. I thank my comm ittee chair, Dr. Bridget Franks, along with my committee members Dr. Tracy Linderholm, Dr. Da vid Miller, and Dr. Nancy Dana for guiding my research study to completion. I thank my research assistants, Arcel Cunanan, Latoya Johnson, Lanisha Johnson, and Linda Nguyen, for thei r tireless efforts in helping me complete data collection. Lastly, I thank San Francisco Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District for its support in helping me complete my study.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4LIST OF TABLES ...........................................................................................................................7ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............8 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 10Statement of the Problem ...................................................................................................... ..10Purpose of this Study ..............................................................................................................12Theoretical and Pract ical Significance ...................................................................................132 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................................................................................15Definition of Level of Voice ...................................................................................................15Carol Gilligan ..................................................................................................................15Susan Harter ....................................................................................................................19My Contribution to Understanding Level of Voice ........................................................ 23Definition of Self-Construal ...................................................................................................26Self-Construal and African-Americans .................................................................................. 28Self-Construal in the Classroom ............................................................................................. 31Self-Construal and Gender .....................................................................................................32Self-Construal and Level of Voice .........................................................................................343 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................................. 38Research Questions ............................................................................................................ .....38Research Question I ......................................................................................................... 38Research Question II ....................................................................................................... 39Research Question III ...................................................................................................... 39Participants .................................................................................................................. ....39Snapshot of San Francisco Unified and Oakland Unified School Districts ...........................40Materials ..................................................................................................................... .....42Procedures .................................................................................................................... ...45Data Analysis ...................................................................................................................45Research question I: ................................................................................................. 46Research question II: ................................................................................................ 46Research question III: ............................................................................................... 46

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6 4 RESULTS ....................................................................................................................... ........48Preliminary Analyses .......................................................................................................... ....48Research Question I ........................................................................................................... .....49First Analysis ...................................................................................................................49Findings for the parent relational context: ............................................................... 49Findings for the teacher relational context: .............................................................. 49Findings for the male classm ates relational context: ............................................... 50Findings for the female cla ssmates relational context: ............................................ 50Second Analysis ..............................................................................................................51Findings for independence in the parent relational context: ....................................51Findings for independence in the teacher relational context: ................................... 52Findings for independence in the male classmates relational context: .................... 52Findings for independence in the female classmates relational context: ................. 52Findings for interdependence: ..................................................................................52Research Question II .......................................................................................................... .....53Parents ....................................................................................................................... ......53Teachers ...................................................................................................................... .....54Male Classmates ..............................................................................................................55Female Classmates ..........................................................................................................56Research Question III ......................................................................................................... ....57Parents ....................................................................................................................... ......57Teachers ...................................................................................................................... .....57Male Classmates ..............................................................................................................58Female Classmates ..........................................................................................................585 DISCUSSION .................................................................................................................... .....62Research Question I ........................................................................................................... .....62Research Question II .......................................................................................................... .....65Level of Voice and Self-Construal ..................................................................................66Level of Voice and Reasons ............................................................................................66Level of Voice and Support for Voice ............................................................................ 67Good Woman Stereotype ................................................................................................ 68Research Question III ......................................................................................................... ....70Limitations ................................................................................................................... ...........71Future Directions ....................................................................................................................72LIST OF REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................75BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................78

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Academic Performance Index (2008) by Subgroup ........................................................... 41 4-1 Means and Standard Deviations for Leve l of Voice, Reasons, Support for Voice and Self-Construal ................................................................................................................ ....48 4-2 Significant Main Effects for Grade and Le vel of Voice with Male Classm ates and Significant Main Effects for Self-Construal Type and Level of Voice with Female Classmates..................................................................................................................... .....51 4-3 Significant Effects of High Indepe ndence vs. Low Independence and High Interd ependence vs. Low Interdependen ce on Level of Voice with Parents and Female Classmates .............................................................................................................52 4-4 Multiple Regression Estimates for Predic tors of Level of Voice with Parents ................. 59 4-5 Multiple Regression Estimates for Predic tors of Level of Voice with Teachers ............... 59 4-6 Multiple Regression Estimates for Predictors of Level of Voice with Male Classm ates..................................................................................................................... .....59 4-7 Multiple Regression Estimates for Predictors of Level of Voice with Female Classm ates..................................................................................................................... .....59 4-8 Pearson Correlations between Level of Vo ice with Parents and Predictor Variables ....... 60 4-9 Pearson Correlations between Level of Voice with Teachers and Predictor Variables .... 60 4-10 Pearson Correlations between Level of Voice with Male Clas smates and Predictor Variables ..................................................................................................................... .......61 4-11 Pearson Correlations between Level of Voice with Fem ale Classmates and Predictor Variables ..................................................................................................................... .......61

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8 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy LEVEL OF VOICE AND SELF-CONSTRUAL AMONG AFRICAN-AMERICAN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS By Yashica J. Crawford August 2009 Chair: Bridget Franks Major: Educational Psychology The primary purpose of this study was to iden tify the relationship be tween level of voice and self-construal among African-American adolescents. Level of voice is a persons ability to express his or her true opinions to significant people in his or her life (Harter, 1996). Selfconstrual is a perception that a person has about how separate or connected he or she is with others (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). These two c onstructs were examin ed with regards to participants relationships with their parents, te achers, male classmates, and female classmates. The secondary purpose of this study was to identi fy whether self-construal was a predictor of level of voice. Level of voice was measured using the Teenage Voice Survey (Harter, 1996). This survey measured students perceptions of their level of voice, their reasons for not expressing their true voice, and the support for their vo ice that they may receive from others. Self-construal was measured using the Se lf-Construal Survey (Singelis, 1994). Analysis indicated that there were no signi ficant interactions for gender, grade level, independent self-construal, and in terdependent self-construal for each of the relational contexts. Within the female relational context, students who perceived themselves as being high in independence and high in interdependence, as well as students who perceived themselves as being high in independence but low in interdepe ndence had the highest level of voice with their

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9 female classmates. For the parent and female cl assmates relational context, mean scores on level of voice were significantly higher for high inde pendent students than for low independent students, which indicate that these students were more likely to pe rceive themselves as having a high level of voice with their pa rents and female classmates if they identified as highly independent in their relationships in general. Level of voice was not significantly correlated with either independent self-construal or interdependent self-construa l for the parent, teacher, and male classmates relational contexts. Level of voice was significantly corr elated with Support for Voice within the parent and t eacher relational contexts, but not for the male classmates and female classmates relational contexts. A multiple regression analysis was used to assess whether Reasons (as a whole), Support for Voice, and self-c onstrual were adequate predictors of level of voice with this population. The results indicate d that although the model was significant across relational contexts, the variable that contributed th e most to the predictability of level of voice differed. For the parent relati onal context, independent self-construal and Support for Voice made the most significant contribution in predic ting level of voice. For the teachers relational context, Support for Voice made the most signi ficant contribution. For the male classmates relational context, Reasons made the most si gnificant contribution. Lastly, for the female relational context, independent self-construal made the most significant contribution.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Statement of the Problem Level of voice is a persons ability to express his or her true opini ons to significant people in his or her life (Harter, 1996). Level of voice has also been desc ribed as showing the true self or saying w hat is really on a persons mind (Harter, 1996). Carol Gilligan is credited with beginning the dialogue on this topic. Based on the results of her qualitative studies, Gilligan (1982) concluded that girls lose their voices as they develop an d learn the differences between how men and women are treated in society. In a later study of ethnically diverse teenagers, Taylor, Gilligan, and Sullivan (1995) found that when the teenagers had a supportive and caring relationship with another woman, this served as protection against loss of voice. Susan Harter continued this line of res earch, beginning in the mid 1990s. Although Harter (1996) agreed with Gill igan (1982) that loss of voice was detrimental to a persons selfworth, she questioned whether this was exclusivel y a female issue. Harter included both males and females in her studies and reached conclusion s using the Teenage Voice Survey that she and her colleagues developed. Using the survey, Harter concluded that a) the level of voice that people perceive they have depends on a specific re lational context; b) ther e does not seem to be a developmental trend for loss of voice and; c) gender orientation wa s a better predictor of loss of voice than sex. Those that have a feminine orie ntation, whether male or female, experienced a loss of voice more often than andr ogynous or masculine orientations. It was also determined that support for voice, especially from parents, was a predictor of level of voice. The influence of culture in how a person inte rprets and interacts in the world cannot be understated. If the self is a social product that is influe nced by social interactions, then membership in a racial group would bring a variety of perceptual and cognitive processes that

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11 would influence an individuals view of self. Previous research on level of voice has not included a significant number of African-American participants. I addressed this omission with my masters thesis research, which examined level of voice among African-American middle school students. Previous research from Harter indicated that support for voice, particularly from parents, was a predictor of perceived level of voice for adolescents. However, my results indicated that although Support for Voice from male classmates wa s an adequate predictor of perceived level of voice, support for voice from pa rents, teachers, and fe male classmates were not adequate predictors of level of voice. In the present study, I hope to further explore the influence of culture on adolescents level of voice with significant others in their lives, by includ ing an examination of self-construal. Self-construal is a perception that a person has about how separate or connected he or she is with others (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). The independe nt self-construal, wh ich is found primarily among people in North America and Europe, views th e self as separate from others and does not allow undue influence by others. The interdepen dent self-construal, which is found primarily among people in Asia, Africa, and South Americ a, views the self as a part of various interpersonal relationships, and fitting in with othe rs is thus central to an individuals experience (Markus & Kitayama, 1994). A study from Gaines (1997) compared cultural orientations across the major minority groups in the United States found that Americans of ethnic groups scored higher on collectivism than did their European American count erparts. There were no differences between European American s and minority groups on independence. Being a minority person in the United States places one in the pos ition of not only having an interdependent self-c onstrual as a member of the minority group, but also an independent selfconstrual, which is represented by the culture of the Un ited States. According to Singelis (1994),

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12 all people, no matter where they live geographically, have both independent and interdependent self-construal, although one self-c onstrual may be developed more than the other, depending on a persons cultural context. These two perceptions of self may exist am ong African-Americans in the United States, and may play a role in how Af rican-Americans perceive their relationships, and specifically, their voice, w ith others in their lives. Purpose of this Study The purpose of this study is to examine level of voice and self-construal am ong AfricanAmerican middle and high school students. My prev ious research on level of voice only included African-American middle school students. By including a broader age range, I hope to understand further if any developm ental trends exist with level of voice. If a developmental trend in perceived level of voice is observed, th is may indicate that Af rican-American students sense of self with significant people in their liv es changes as they grow older. Because AfricanAmerican males are also bombarded with disparaging images in the greater society that may inhibit their true voices, I have included both male and female adolescents in my examination. An additional purpose of this study is to in clude an examination of self-construal to determine if there is a relationship between a we ll-developed independent and/or interdependent self-construal and the ability to express true opinions to othe rs. Additionally, I hope to find whether self-construal is an adequa te predictor of level of voice. To date, there have not been any published studies examining the similarities between these two constructs. However, since both have the potential to infl uence peoples self-perceptions (Harter, Waters, & Whitesell, 1997; Boekaerts, 1998), the gap in the literature needs to be addressed. Thus, the present study was undertaken.

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13 Theoretical and Practical Significance Carol Gilligan and Susan Harter have written at length about the cult ural influences on level of voice, based on sex and gender orientatio n. My research adds to this discussion by exam ining the influence of culture based on race. Although there is a plet hora of cross-cultural research on self-construal, many studies involved participants from outside of both the United States and mainstream educational research (i.e. Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Triandis, 2001; Youn, 2002). Researchers committed to school refo rm have not given due consideration to culturally bound values, attitudes, and beliefs and how these may affect learning, motivation, and self-regulation (Boekaerts, 1998). The inclusi on of a discussion of self-construal among minorities in the United States begins a cross-cult ural dialogue about the co mplexities of staying connected to ones ethnic culture while also stay ing connected to being an American. With the inclusion of self-construal, I hope to increase the literatur e on self-construal and AfricanAmericans, especially young African-Americans. This will allow fo r exploration of the ways in which culture may influence perceptions of self while those perceptions are in the process of development. In terms of practical signif icance, it is important to unde rstand how the lives of young people are impacted by their relationships with ot hers. Parents, teachers and peers have the ability to create positive relationships that help young people define their true selves. It is also important to further investigat e how self-construal and level of voice can influence persons sense of self. Within a given classroom, the influence of the cultural self in how teacher practices are interpreted is a key component in ho w a student learns materi al and interacts with others. The classroom environment has the pow er of being a welcoming place where students are able to express their true opinions without fear of inhibiting their voices due to feelings of embarrassment, threat, or stereotypes. If Afri can-American students are bicultural, educators can

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14 use this to create learning scenarios where both independent and interdep endent self-construals can be given the opportunities for expression. The home setting serves as an opportunity for students to engage their parents in discussions relating to topics th at the students care most about. However, despite even the best intentions of parents to be supportive of their childs voice, students may prefer and feel more open to expres s their true opinions regarding certain topics with their peers rather than with their teachers and parents.

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15 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Definition of Level of Voice The school setting rep resents a place where st udents spend a considerable amount of time developing relationships with others, learning ab out various subjects, and cultivating a sense of purpose and well-being. The school setting represents not only an educational arena but a powerful social context where the psychological ad justment of children and adolescents can be affected. The relationships that are formed in th is setting may be lasting ones, and may affect the way that people express themselves with others Level of voice can be described as peoples ability to express their opinions, and say their tr ue thoughts and feelings to other persons in their lives. In the classroom setting, students express th eir opinions to classmates and teachers. In their home life, true opinions may be expressed to parents, siblings, or other significant people in their lives. When people have an inability to express their true opinions to significant ot hers in their lives, these persons can be said to have a lack of voice, and lack of voice has been linked in the literature to depressed affect, lower self-esteem, and a depresse d global self-worth (Harter, Waters, & Whitesell, 1997). Give n these outcomes, level of voice is an important concept to understand within adolescents personal and social lives. Although level of voice is an important topic for discussion, the literature on the subject is not plentiful. Two researchers remain at the forefront of understanding this ar ea of research: Carol Gi lligan, who has been a trailblazer in the research on female and male dynamics, and Su san Harter, who has successfully quantified Gilligans description of level of voice into a measurable survey. Carol Gilligan Carol Gillig an is credited with being the first to describe what has been called loss of voice. In her 1982 book, A Different Voice, Carol Gilligan described loss of voice as a persons

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16 inability to express his or her true opinions. Gilligan (1982) sought to examine the different voices of women. The central assumption of her re search was that there was significance in the way people talk about their lives, and the language they use to describe their lives forms a window into the world that they see and act in. Gilligan ( 1982) described three qualitative studies she had conducted, with interview questio ns based on the participants conceptions of self and morality, and their experi ences with conflict and choice. The first study was the College Study, wh ere she interviewed 25 sophomore students on issues of identity and moral development and how th ese related to their view of self. The second study was the Abortion Decision Study, where she interviewed 29 teenagers and women between the ages of 15 and 33. These women were interviewed during the first trimester of their pregnancy, when they considered whether or not to have an abortion. The participants were interviewed to examine the relationship between experience and thought and the role of conflict in development. The third study was the Ri ghts and Responsibilities Study, where male and female college students were interviewed on their conceptions of self and morality. After completing these studies, Gilligan conclu ded that adolescence was the time that girls were more prone to loss of voice than their male counterparts. At this stage of development, girls internalize societal message s about what qualities a women in society should have, and girls begin to acquire the identity of a woman in our society. Girls also internalize the idea that womens opinions in society are not valued or supported. The soci etal message is that of the good woman stereotype, which posits that a woman who is re spected in society is one who is kind, not opinionated, and most importantly, quiet. The good woman stereotype coupled with feminine values of staying connected and pres erving relationships, lead s women to suppress and eventually lose their voices. This also explains why females are more prone to loss of voice than males.

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17 Taylor, Gilligan, and Sullivan (1995) examined the influence of culture on loss of voice by including an ethnically diverse gr oup of participants. The author s interviewed 26 girls total who were considered at risk for early pregnanc y and dropping out of high school annually over a 3year period. During their intervie ws, the participants answered questions about their feelings toward school, their relationships, their futu re outlook, and themselves The participants consisted of students whom the researchers c onsidered ethnic minorities. These included African-American, Caribbean, Latina, Portuguese, Irish, and Italian Americans. The authors determined that one protective factor for the pa rticipants psychological health and development was a meaningful relationship with other women. Th is relationship meant that girls were free to speak openly about their feelings, and know that their words were being received by another person who was listening and taking their opinions and concerns seriously. The participants who experienced these relationships were the ones who graduated from high school, and in some cases, continued on to college. Taylor et al. (1995) stated that, in adolescence, girls were most at risk of losing touch with what they had learned through experience. This ma y be due to the onset of puberty, feelings that their childhood experiences were not important, or beliefs that the experiences of girls and women were devalued or not represented within patriarchal societies and culture. Most notably, in this period of adolescence, girls begin to understand the paradox be tween their relational strengths and resilience and the formulation of relationships. When girls experiences come in conflict with relationships, or when girls sense of themselves comes into conflict with the good woman stereotype then womens voices ca n be psychologically lifesaving in providing an internalized counter to what ot herwise becomes an almost necessa ry process of dissociation that drains girls vitality and energy (p. 5). The incl usion of these women in the lives of adolescent girls allows a place where girls can sort out and think through their responses to complicated

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18 and confusing realities. Those women who are particularly effective are those who share the same background as the girls to whom they are pr oviding support. Given the myriad of cultural factors that were influenced by issues of race, class, sexual orientation, and gender, it is no wonder that the girls in this st udy were most responsive to women who shared similar attributes with them. An important message that I learned from the work of Gilligan and her colleagues was that with adolescent girls and women, fostering a nd maintaining relationships was an important factor in sustaining a level of voice, and pr omoting healthy psychological development. Although women may know that ma intaining relationships is important in order not to experience a loss of voice, this may come at a price. Brown and Gilligan (1992) concluded that when it comes to fostering these relationships with various others, adolescents and women will either silence themselves or be silenced in the relationships to decrease the presence of conflict that may result in the dissolution of the relations hip or in violence. This finding is discouraging, since it suggests that females are willing to hold onto relationships at th e risk of losing their voices and undeniably their senses of self. Within the school se tting, it can be inferred that adolescent girls will risk losi ng their voices to maintain rela tionships with teachers and classmates. This inference is supported by the fa ct that girls receive si gnificantly less attention from classroom teachers than do boys (AAUW, 1992). However, it is equally important to state that there is evidence suggesting that girls receive more positive interactions and more rewards fr om their teachers than boys, while boys receive more attention in the form of reprimands (Dobbs, Arnold, and Doctoroff, 2004). It is due to such inconsistencies in the literatu re that Susan Harter and coll eagues (1997) cautioned that, since there had been no studies that have included males, it is erroneous to conc lude that loss of voice is predominately a female phenomenon.

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19 Susan Harter Susan Harter continued the line of research on level of voice by exam ining its components further. According to Harter, Waters, and White sell (1997), a lack of voi ce is attributed to adolescents exhibiting false self-behavior. Duri ng adolescence, youths are confronted with the challenge of developing a coherent sense of self while at the same time exhibiting different selves to different persons in their lives. Given this, adol escents are often concerned with which self represents the real me, especi ally when the different roles exhibited are contradictory. False-self behavi ors are behaviors that are lacki ng in authenticity. To examine this phenomenon, Harter et al. (1997) asked boys and girls ages 1218 to describe what is meant by the terms trueand false-self behavior. Based on the responses, they concluded that true-self behavior includes saying what you think and expressing your true opinions, whereas false-self behavior includes not saying wh at you think and inhibiting y our responses. The authors concluded that adolescents and ad ults who did not receive validati on for their true-self behaviors would be more prone to low self-esteem, hopele ssness, depressed affect and the belief that no one knows their true selves. Harter (1999) stated that in childhood, differences in social ization experiences are related to true-self and false-self behavior. True self is manifested when a chil d is loved by a caregiver for who he or she is. A false self is manifested when a child is given approval only when living up to a particular standard (conti ngent self-esteem). Also detrimen tal is when a child is abused, and enforced compliance (of hiding the self) all cause the true self to go underground (p. 233). Adolescents are confronted with the task of crea ting multiple selves for the different social roles or contexts that they are in. A youth may have one self in front of parents, teachers, and other adults, and a different self for peers and classm ates. Given this, it is evident that they may struggle with which self is the real me.

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20 Harter and colleagues (1997) discussed Gillig ans previous studies, where she concluded that from a developmental perspective, females have a loss of voice, which inhibits them from expressing their true opinions around others. Females learn early on that to submit to a good woman stereotype girls should not be opinionated, should remain quiet, and should be polite. Within a school setting, this can be detrimental to the well-being of a girl as research indicates that boys receive more attention in a classr oom (AAUW, 1992). Unbeknownst to themselves, many teachers are perpetuating these stereotypes in their classrooms. Similar to Gilligans (1982) conclusions, however, was Harters assertion that level of voice changed depending upon whom a person is speaking to. Although the merits of qualitative methods of collecting data are undeniable, they do not include the ability to obtain a la rge mass of data on a population in a reasonable amount of time. Harter accomplished the task of changing a conc ept discussed in qual itative data into a quantifiable measure with the c onstruction of the Teenage Voice Survey (Harter, Waters, and Gonzales, 1994). The survey examined students level of voice, the re asons that they may experience a loss of voice, and the persons in th eir lives who support thei r voice. In the study, the authors used male and female students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, and assessed their level of voice with their teachers, close friends, and peers. Similar to the conclusions reached by Gilligan (1982), Harter and colleagues found that students were most outspoken with their close friends, followed by peers, and then teachers. Results also confirmed what the literature had already shown to be problematic: female student s showed significantly less voice than males in the classroom. However, the results indicated that males and females had identical levels of voice in their relationships with close friends and peers. Since males and females showed identical levels of voice in their rela tionships with close friends and peers, the authors suggested that di fferences in level of voice may not be based on a

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21 persons biological sex, but rather on his or her gender role orie ntation. Harter and colleagues (1994) developed a measure of gender orientatio n using a combination of items taken from several instruments in the literature, including an instrument that measured personality attributes as well as an instrument that measured sex roles. Results indicated that re gardless of the sex of a person, those who exhibited a feminine orientatio n were more likely to have a lower level of voice. Female students who were high in fe mininity and low in masculinity reported significantly lower levels of voice than those who were androgynous. The males who endorsed a feminine orientation reported lower levels of voice than th ose endorsing either an androgynous or a masculine orientation. Harter et al. (1994) also examined the r easons why middle school students may exhibit a low level of voice. Based on the criteria proposed by Gilligan (1982), four factors were used to account for low level of voice: lack of validation of self (others wont listen to me, wont take me seriously), threats to the relationship (will cause conflict, will lead to tension in the relationship), affective reactions (Id feel embarrassed, others would make fun of me) and lack of opinion (I dont have an opinion, Im not sure what to think). The results indicated that the primary motive for students feelings of lo ss of voice with teachers was lack of validation In relation to classmates, the students reported reasons for lack of voice included lack of validation as well as negative affective reaction Similar results were found in a subsequent study by Harter and colleagues (1997) that examined whether there was dec line in level of voice with females and whether there were gender differences with respect to level of voice. This time, the authors used male and female students between the ages of 12 and 18 to obtain a better indication of whether either gender experiences a loss of voice developmentally. Part icipants completed the Teenage Voice Survey, which included questions about their level of voice and how it changed based on the relational

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22 context (with parents, teachers, classmates, and close friends). The results indicated that, for both genders, voice was highest with close friends, followed by classmates of the same gender. Voice was lowest with classmates of the opposite gender, as well as with teachers and parents. There was also no support for gender differences fa voring the level of voice of boys. The results also confirmed the findings regarding gender orientation from the previous study (Harter et. al, 1994), indicating that gender orientat ion is a better predictor of level of voice than gender. A feminine orientation seems be a detriment to girls in the classroom setting, and to boys in a social setting. The results also indicate d that lack of support, initially from parents, is a major factor leading adolescents to suppress their voices. Harter, Waters, Whitesell, and Kastelic (1998) examined high school students level of voice, and the impact of relati onal context, support, and gend er orientation on voice. This research duplicated earlier studie s (Harter et al,, 1997), with the exception that the subjects were now high school students. The authors wanted to determine whether level of voice varied across relational contexts for this age group. They also wanted to dete rmine if girls with a feminine orientation were more vulnerabl e to low levels of voice, and whether level of voice within a given relationship was associated with low self-wor th in that particular context. A total of 307 high school students, mostly Caucas ian, in grades 9 to 11 participat ed in the study. The Level of Voice Survey examined the participants relationships with parents, teachers, male classmates, female classmates, and close friends. The results indicated that level of voice with both female classmates and close friends was significantly higher for female participants. Fo r males, level of voice with close friends was significantly higher than in any other relationship. There was no significant main effect for grade, nor was there a grade by gender inte raction. There were moderately significant correlations with level of voice and Support for Vo ice for parents, teachers, male classmates,

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23 female classmates, and close friends. Additi onally, feminine-oriented female participants reported significantly lower levels of voice in the public or social context, compared to androgynous females. Feminine-oriented female pa rticipants also reported lower levels of support for voice in the public arena. In summary, Harter and colleagues ( 1994, 1997, 1998) concluded that there was no evidence to support the assertion that level of voice declines among female adolescents as they mature. Although the researchers noted that age was not a factor, they did conclude that the gender orientation of an adolesce nt was a good predictor of level of voice. Adolescents, whether male or female, who had a femini ne orientation were more likely to have a lower perceived level of voice. It is interesting to note that although Harter and her colleagues included both middle and high school students in thei r research, they did not observe many differences in level of voice between the two populations. In their reported results, there were more similarities between the two populations than differences. Both populations express thei r true opinions most often to close friends, followed by their peers. One difference in perceived level of voice between the two populations involve d the gender of the close friends and peers. While Harter and colleagues (1994) reported that middle school students perceived their level of voice to be highest with close friends and peers generally, the results fr om the high school data (1997) indicated that perceived level of voice for these students was highe st with close friends and peers of the same gender. My Contribution to Understanding Level of Voice The work of Gillig an and Harter has been influential in helping the research community understand what level of voice is, how losing ones voice can be detrimental to the self, and who is in danger of experiencing a loss of voice. As I began my wo rk on level of voice, I concluded that minorities were noticeably left out of Gillig an and Harters dialogue. With the exception of

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24 Taylor et al. (1995), all of the conclusions re lated to level of voice had been made using primarily Caucasian populations. Although it is important to e xplore gender differences in perceived level of voice, it is equally important to examine the influence of race. The social location of class, gender, and race for minority stud ents creates for them a position in society that does not provide them a public context for voici ng their experiences (Taylor et al., 1995). At the onset of my preliminary research on le vel of voice, there had not been any published studies examining African-American students and level of voice using Ha rters Teenage Voice Survey. In my examination of level of voi ce (Crawford, 2005), I assessed perceived level of voice with 77 urban middle school students and 35 rural middle school students. All of the students were African-American and attended school s that consisted primarily of low to medium income students. I examined the level of voice that the students re ported with parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. I also examined their reasons for not expressing their voices, as well as the support for voice that they may have received from those aforementioned relationships. In determining the students perceived level of voice with their pa rents, my analysis indicated that there were signi ficant differences in voice, de pending on the students grade and the type of school that they at tended. Perceived level of voice appeared to increase gradually with age for both males and females, and rural students perceived their level of voice to be higher than that of urban students. Although Gilligan (1982) asserted that there is a decrease in level of voice as a female matures, my study found no such decrease and no significant differences based on the sex of the student. Fu rthermore, the finding that perceived level of voice increased as grade level incr eased should receive more attention. In addressing the reasons why students would not express th eir voices with their parents, students were most likely to report a fear of feeling embarrassed/stupid or the lack of an opinion An interesting finding that

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25 came from the examination of voice with parents is that for this population of students, level of voice was not correlated with Support for Voice. This was contrary to Harters (1996, 1998) claim that perceived Support for Voice, particular ly from parents, was a major influence on level of voice. In the examination of level of voice with teachers, my analysis determined that male students perceived themselves as having a higher level of voice with teachers than did female students. This conclusion was consistent with re search that suggested th at within the classroom setting, boys receive more attention from teacher s than do girls (AAUW, 1992). Additionally, there was no significant corre lation between level of voice and Support for Voice. In determining their reasons for not expressing their voice with teachers, students were more likely to cite their lack of an opinion or (if female) the good woman stereotype. I thought this was an interesting finding, since it sugge sts that teachers may be unknow ingly perpetuating for their students these stereotypes about what a good woman is. A closer examination of the good woman stereotype and African-American girls is also wa rranted, since African-American girls are often described as being socialized less ster eotypically than their Caucasian counterparts (Taylor et al., 1995). With the good woman stereotype, girls are taught the traditional female roles in society. Although African -American girls are taught this traditional view, they are also encouraged to be strong, self-sufficient, and to fight back (verbally a nd physically) when they believe that there has been an injustice agains t them (Taylor et al., 1995). This view is contradictory to the traditional view, so it is unclear how this population of students defined the good woman stereotype. In my examination of voice with males, stude nts in the rural schools reported a higher perceived level of voice than urban students. Given the previous res earch by Harter (1996), I expected that male participants would have a hi gher level of voice with their male classmates

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26 than did their female counterparts, but this wa s not the case. Males a nd females did not differ significantly in their perceived level of voice with male classm ates. In their reasons for not expressing their voices with male classmates, the participants were more likely to cite lack of validation and fear of feeling stupid as reason s for suppressing their voices and not expressing their true opinions. In the examination of le vel of voice with female classmates, there were no significant differences in level of voice based on sex, grade, or type of school. Similar to level of voice with parents and teachers, there was no significant correlation between level of voice and Support for Voice. Regarding the reasons why they would s uppress their voice with th eir female classmates, the students were more likely to cite lack of validati on and fear of feeling stupid, which were the same reasons given for suppressing ones voice with male classmates. Definition of Self-Construal Self-construal can be defined as a persons perception of independence and interdepend ence, and the overall vi ew of the self and its role in society. Specifically, selfconstrual is defined as a constellation of thoughts, feelings and actions concerning ones relationship to others, and the self as distinct from others (Singelis, 1991, p. 581). Selfconstrual is an important part of a persons self-concept; they repres ent a structure of beliefs that may impact achievement, health, and well-bei ng (Boekaerts, 1998). Although the processes associated with each are different, the term independent self-construal is synonymous with other labels used within the l iterature, including i ndividualist, autonomous, and egocentric. Similarly, interdependent self-c onstrual is synonymous with various labels used in the literature, such as collective, relational, and allocentri c (Markus & Kitayama, 1991). Markus and Kitayama (1994) have been influentia l in the study of the role culture plays in an individuals construction of self, and have based their research on identifying cultural

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27 differences between individualistic cultures, whic h are prevalent in Europe and North America, and collectivist cultures, which are prevalent in Asia, Africa, and South America (Markus and Kitayama, 1991; Coon and Kemmelmeier, 2001). W ithin independent cultures, these authors argue, the self is an independent self-contained entity. This is different from interdependent cultures, which do not view the self as separate from others and the surrounding context. Within independent cultures, there is a beli ef that the self has internal attributes and that it behaves as a consequence of these attributes. This is differe nt from interdependent cultures, which view the self in relation to others, and this is a centr al component in individua l experiences. Within independent cultures, people separate themselves from others and do not allow undue influence by others. With interdependent cultures, it is important to fit in with others and to foster interpersonal relationships. With independent cultures, emotions are private and internal, but with interdependent cultures, emotions are re lational and social (Mar kus and Kitayama, 1991; Coon and Kemmelmeier, 2001). Singelis (1994) created a measur e for independent and interdep endent self-construal. He proposed that within any particular culture, these two per ceptions of the self can co-exist within an individual and can be measured. Which self is exposed at a particular time is dependent upon the situation. For example, if a situation occurs within a collectivist culture, involving a person who has a well-defined interdependent self-constr ual, this person will follow the advice from close others despite the fact that this may run in opposition to the independent self. This dual self may create a conflict among the two selves, as each may deal with personal conflict. However, the coexistence of two well-developed self-construal may be beneficial, particularly to a person who wishes to move seamlessly between cultures.

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28 Self-Construal and African-Americans There is a lack of research regarding self-construal am ong African-Americans, since the majority of cross-cultural res earch in this area involves comparison of Asian cultures and Western cultures (Constantine, Gainor, Ahluwalia & Berkel, 2003). Additionally, much of the research on the self has been guided by the id eal of the independent self-construal (Cross and Madson, 1997). Assumptions are often made with relation to African, Asian, and Latino minority groups that they are higher in collectivism and lower in independence when compared to European Americans. This assumption may be due in part to many researchers continuing to view individualism and collectivis m as polar opposites, but increased levels of collectivism are not necessarily associated with decreased le vels of individualism (Coon and Kemmelmeier, 2001). Secondly, the cultural trad itions of a given minority group may be seen as commensurate with their country of origin and (due to the socialization process) reflecting these traditions (Coon and Kemmelmeier, 2001). In what he referred to as a dynamic process, Franklin (1999) stated that identity is represented in acquiring gender roles and racial and ethnic id entity. How we feel about ourselves and the role we assume from one soci al and relational context to the next depends on the consistency and continuity of the feedback, verifying and validating who we think and feel we are. The concept of dual self may be a key c oncept that is applicable to minorities who reside in the United States, specifically African-Ameri cans. A minority person who is born and raised in the United States may not only identify with the independent culture of being an American citizen, but also identify with bei ng a representative of an ethnic culture. This bi-cultural perspective puts minorities in the United States in the precarious posit ion of possibly being identified as either individualistic (thus submitting to the Eurocentric perception of the self), or interdependent (thus submitting to a view of the self that is not the dominant theme).

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29 Despite the lack of African-Americans in his original study, Singelis (1 994) speculated that African-Americans may score high on both dimensi ons of the self-construal scale, due to the interdependent orientation of their culture, whic h runs parallel to the individualism that is dominant in the United States. One of the most comprehensive studies comparing cultural orientations across the major minority groups in the United States came from Gaines et al. (1997), who through his work on assessing individualism and collectivism found that Americans of ethnic minority groups scored higher on coll ectivism than did their European American counterparts. There were no differences betw een European Americans and minority groups on independence. In his famous work The Souls of Black Folk (1903), WEB DuBois stated that AfricanAmericans have a double consciousness, which he described as a feeling of twoness, one being American and the other being Negro. This double consciousness, he argued, enables AfricanAmericans to negotiate between these two selves While one is judged against those in the African-American culture, the other is judged based on American (white) culture. DuBois argued that African-Americans n eed to have a keen understanding of both the African-American culture as well as the American culture. In a study that examined African-Americans a nd self-construal, Constantine et al. (2003) investigated the relationship between self-construal and dime nsions of individualism and collectivism as they relate to harmony control, or the ability of a person to relate personal control to spiritual forces. The authors used the Self -Construal Scale as one of their measures, on a sample of 240 African-American community colle ge students, and found that 1) there were no sex differences in self-construal and 2) average scores for the interdependent and independent self-construal subscales were 4.61 and 4.72, resp ectively, indicating th at African-American participants, as a whole, were virtually equal in each. The authors obser ved that participants

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30 with greater interdependent self-construal scores were more likely to be involved with other activities. Participants with greater independent self-construal scores were less likely to be closely associated with others. A study by Zaff and associates (2002) examin ed African-Americans and self-construal, focusing on middle school students. The authors explored the role of ethnic iden tity and selfconstrual in coping strategies among 112 African-American and Caucasian 7th grade students. Using the Self-Construal Scale, al ong with a measure of ethnic identity and a measure of coping strategy use, the authors concluded that there were no significant diffe rences between ethnic groups on the Self-Construal Scale. There were also no significant gende r differences for selfconstrual. For both ethnicities, there was a significant positive relationship between scores on the interdependent and independe nt scales, which indicates that overall, students were high in both. The authors concluded that this may be du e to acculturation, or the similarities between the two cultures due to consistent contact with each other. Franklin (1999) described how racial incidents mandate a self that is both independent and interdependent. Culturally ingrained reminde rs of racism undermine and shape AfricanAmerican selves. Thus, African-American se lves adjust accordingly, and in response to racialized interactions. Given this, selves that emerge are situational, influenced by competing social roles, expectations and stereotypes across relational, occupational, cultural, and familial settings. Yeh (1999) described a key difference in the descrip tion of self-construal among Asian and African-American views of the interdepe ndent self. Whereas Asian-based views of interdependence emphasize adapting the self to a series of role expectations to maintain collective harmony, African-American selves shift and change not only to fulfill various role expectations but also to avoid them.

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31 It is important to note that studies involving comparisons between ethnic groups are in danger of overgeneralization because these comp arisons tend to reflect variations between cultures and not within cultures. To assume that all La tino American, Asian American, AfricanAmerican, and European American persons sh are the same histories and experiences is presumptuous. However this method is superior to continuing to hold the assumptions that all minority groups are similar to each other with respect to self-constr ual (Coon and Kemmelmeier, 2001). Self-Construal in the Classroom W ithin a given classroom, the influence of th e cultural self in how teacher practices are interpreted is a key component in how a student learns material and interacts with others. It is important to note that in the United States, the cultural self that dominates society is the independent self. Given the fact that the classroom is a reflection of the greater society, it can be suggested that the independent self is the cultural view most s upported in the classroom. This conclusion would vary depending upon the cultural context the teacher supports, as well as the cultural context of a majority of the students. It is unclear whether a student who has an interdependent self-constr ual would thrive in a classroom that focuses on the independent self. In their research on activity theory in the classroom, Tharpe and colleagues (2000) identified the classroom dynamics within a given ac tivity in the classroom. First, individualist or collectivist patterns of activities vary across cult ures and communities and affect the ways that projects are made, owned, and valued. A ccording to Markus and Kitayama (1994), individualistic cultures emphasize the personal interests and goals of the individual, whereas collectivist cultures s uppress individual needs for the good of the group. Second, individualist and collectivist patterns of activity impact the roles that different members enact within the activity. Third, based on these differences, ther e are power relationships among members of the

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32 activity setting. Level of voice is important in this area, because the student who is the most vocal will eventually silence the responses of other group members. And fourth, based on these cultural differences, there are differences in the language codes and genres used during the activities. The authors proposed that through th ese activity settings in the classroom, students will adopt some roles and not others. In the classroom setting, African-American students have different experiences from their Caucasian counterparts. African-American studen ts are more likely to be instructed by less qualified teachers who lack certification in specific areas, such as ma th (Barton, 2003). AfricanAmerican students, particularly males, are disp roportionately represented in special education categories, school suspensions, and the juvenile justice system (Leone, Christle, Nelson, Skiba, Frey, & Jolivette, 2003). Despite evidence that African-American girl s attempt to initiate interactions more frequently, they have fewer interactions with teachers than do Caucasian girls (AAUW, 1992). Additionally, when Caucasian and African-American girls do as well as Caucasian boys in school, teachers often attribut e their success to hard work while assuming that the Caucasian boys are not working up to their potential (AAUW, 1992). Given these discouraging findings, African-Ame rican students may experience so cial contexts that do not afford the construction of plausible futures in which school success leads to occupational success in adulthood. This means that ownership in this ideal entails maintaini ng a vision of what is possible for them in light of perceived barriers and challenges (Oyserman, Gant and Ager, 1995). Self-Construal and Gender It is im portant to include a discussion of how gender differences may influence whether people are independent or inte rdependent. A study by Cross and Madson (1997) provided a description of the role of the se lf in behavior and various self-c onstruals. It summarized the literature on gender differences a nd how various models can help explain these differences. The

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33 authors modeled their research on that of Markus a nd Kitayama (1994) and suggested that many of the differences between the sexe s were due to the fact that each sex represents a different selfconstrual, and this is socially set at a very young age. By the age of 3, children play in gendersegregated groups, household task s are different, there are gend ered social roles (such as occupational choices) and the childrearing responsi bilities are given more to women than men. Cross and Madson (1997) contend that independent self-construal is typical of men, while the interdependent self-construa l is most often seen in women. This dichotomy may be manifested by some marked differences in behavi or. For example, women in the United States are more likely to define the self in terms of relatedness to others, whereas men define the self as independent. Also, men may exaggerate their abilities and strengths in order to appear superior to others, whereas women may present their accomplishments modestly when there is a possibility of hurting anothers feelings. For men, performing better than others produces a positive affect. However for women, it is a double-edged sword; they will minimize their accomplishments if they would cause hurt in another. Although societal influences may have created a self-construal for each sex, it is important to note that there is variation within and between sexes, and it is erroneous to assume that sex destines one for a particular se lf-construal. Cross and Madson (1997) made the point that many of the differences may lie in our own interpretati on of our self-construal. These differences are mediated based on our membership in a given ethni city, sex, socioeconomic status, education or any other socially-constructed domain. Just as Harter and colleagues (1997, 1998) saw variation in level of voice based on gender orientation, self -construal may be affected by any other socially constructed domain.

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34 Self-Construal and Level of Voice Although there are currently no published studies that exam ine the relationship between level of voice and self-construal, based on what is known about both concepts, certain connections can reasonably be posited. In he r seminal text regarding race, Tatum (1997) described how African-American students begin to learn how to silence thei r voices. It begins during the preschool years when issues regarding race are silenced. This is the time when a preschooler usually asks a quest ion regarding race at an inopp ortune time, like in a crowded grocery store. Instead of receiving an intelligent answer, the child is hushed. Children, as they mature, learn that dialogue about race is a very taboo subject. Tatum (1997) also stated that black youths, in their search for self, tend to think of themselves in terms of race because that is how the rest of the world sees them. She described the birthday party effect, which happens in many racially mixed communities, where young childrens birthday parties are a reflection of the communitys di versity. Whereas parties for elementary school level children may be segreg ated by gender and not race, by the onset of puberty, these parties become less ra cially diverse. Black girls ar e more prone to notice this change, as the onset of puberty brings about a ttractions to the opposite sex. They start to internalize societal views about who is sexually desirable, and start to devalue themselves. Black boys are bombarded with media images of black ma les being arrested for violent crimes. Images of positive, successful black adults as role mode ls are often replaced by those of athletes and music artists, who may also be c onnected to criminal activities. Tatum (1997) believes that these adolescents often do not find voice in expressing their experiences with other students w ho are not in their racial gro up or who represent mainstream culture, but they do find solace with persons not only of their same age, but also their same race. While both Gilligan (1982) and Harter et. al (1997) have acknowledged that students express

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35 their voice most with close friends and peers their own age, Taylor adds that for black students who are receiving devaluing messages regarding th eir race, those close friends and peers with whom they share their voice will also share their race. In their research, Gilligan (1982) and Harter et. al (1997) have acknowledged that the influence of society, media, and popular culture plays a major role in not only shaping identity, but in teaching particular gender roles. If an African-American girl is not only being bombarded with subversive messages about being a female, but also is experiencing damaging images about African-American females, this can be detrimenta l to her sense of self and the expression of who she really is. Groves (1996) described this experience of Af rican-American girls confronting the devaluing images of African-American women as coming-of-rage. Similarly, if an African-American male is exposed to posit ive messages about being male, but at the same time is being bombarded with images of black males not benefiting from these positive images, this can also be detrimental to his sense of self, and the expression of who he really is. Based on the descriptions of level of voice and self-construal that were given, it may be intuitive to conclude th at, due to the need for interpersona l experiences and re lationships, those who perceive themselves as interdependent would have a higher perceived level of voice with significant others than those pe rceiving themselves as independe nt. However, this perceived level of voice among interdependents may be low if it means protec ting relationships and avoiding conflict. Similarly, due to the independ ents perceiving themselves as separate from others, they may be predicted to have a lower le vel of voice with significant others; however this may not be the case. For example, Markus and Kitayama (1991) stated th at those who manifest independent self-construal express themselves, are di rect, and say what is on their minds. This is primarily the definition for level of voice, and based on this descri ption, those with well-defined

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36 independent self-construals may be more likely to have a higher level of voice with significant others. Aside from using various ages in participant pools, research has yet to examine whether or not self-construal changes or shifts as an adolescent matures. It is possible that a developmental trend exists with self-construal, just as it ex ists with other self-perception concepts. For example, self-efficacy, or the belief that people have in their capability of achieving goals, is developed from infancy through adolescence based on learning and modeling through observation, as well as learning th rough the consequences of actions (Thomas, 2000). In her text describing the developmental attributes of the c onstruction of self, Hart er (1999) described how others opinions about us impact the formation of our views of ourselves. For example, since primary language is scaffolded by parents, they choose what aspects of the childs experience are important to codify into the childs aut obiographical memory, possibly leading to a misrepresentation of the childs actual experience. This may contribute to the child having a false sense of self. The link between self-construal and level of voice may also exist when examining their relationship to another concept, self-esteem. Although there are th eoretical arguments that have been made to conclude that self-esteem is rela ted to the culturally appropriate conception of the self, few studies have examined the link between self-construal and self-e steem (Singelis et al., 1999). For example, Markus and Kitayama ( 1991) proposed that for the independent selfconstrual, the sources of self-e steem are based on their prefe rred characteristics, such as expressing the self, being assertive, and being uni que. For the interdepende nt self-construal, the sources of self-esteem are based on their preferred char acteristics, such as the need to belong, keeping harmony, and maintaining relationships. However, it is important to note that these

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37 descriptions are based on the notion that an indi viduals self-construal is either independent or interdependent (Singelis et al., 1999). The study of level of voice and self-construal helps to furthe r the discussion of how both societal influences and significant relationships play a role in the forming of a persons true self. Exploring independent and interd ependent self-construa l in the context of relationships with parents, teachers, and classmates may give further insight into the benefits and challenges of providing a supportive environment for African-American students to thrive in. Since the construction of the self is a gradual process, observing changes in level of voice and selfconstrual over time may contribute to our unders tanding of how this construction takes place. I chose to include 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students as participants to allow for a better look at developmental trends, given the age span of appr oximately 12 to 17 years of age. This age range includes students transition from middle school to high school, and mirrors the age ranges used in Harters (1996, 1997, 1998) previous studies.

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38 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY The prim ary purpose of this study is to identi fy the relationship between level of voice and self-construal in African-American adolescents. To date, there have been no studies that have identified whether there is a re lationship between these two cons tructs. However, based on the relatedness of these two concep ts, there may be a significant re lationship, and that relationship may vary based on age and/or gender. The secondary purpose of this study is to identify whether self-construal is a better pred ictor of level of voice than Reasons and Support for Voice. Previous research from Harter indicated that it is the support of voice, primarily from parents, that is a predictor of level of voice. However, given the result s of my thesis research which found no significant relationship be tween level of voice and Support for Voice within the parent, teacher, and female classmates relational cont exts for my population of students, further exploration of predictors of perceived level of voice for Af rican-American students is warranted. Research Questions Based on the purposes of m y study, I propos e the following research questions and hypotheses: Research Question I With regard to parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates, what is the perceived level of voice among the students base d on grade level, sex of student, and selfconstrual? Based on the review of the literature and results of my previous research, it is hypothesized that there will be a si gnificant difference in level of voice based on grade level, sex, and self-construal. Specificall y, since I am including a broader ag e range than I included in my masters thesis, I predict that there will be a developmental trend toward greater perceived level of voice. Although I did not find a difference in level of voice based on sex in my previous

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39 study, it would be of interest to see if this variable interacts with level of voice, self-construal, or both in this older popu lation of students. Research Question II What are the relationships among level of voi ce, self-construal, Reasons, and Support for Voice? Given the results of my previous re search which found that there was no significant relationship between Support for Voice and level of voice in the relational contexts of parents, teachers, and female classmates, and that ther e was a significant rela tionship between Support for Voice and level of voice for male classmates it is hypothesized that the relationship between Support for Voice and level of voice may vary in strength based on the different relational contexts of parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. It is also hypothesized that there will be a significant relationship between self-construal a nd level of voice. Research Question III After controlling for sex and grade, are self-construal, Reasons, and Support for Voice adequate predictors of level of voice with African-American a dolescents? My previous study indicated that Reasons and Support for Voice were adequate pred ictors of level of voice for parents, teachers, and male classmates but not fo r female classmates. Since the sample in this study includes high school student s, who may have different kinds of relationships with their male and female classmates, it is hypothesized that Reasons and Support for Voice will continue to be adequate predictors of level of voice for parents, teacher s, and male classmates, as well as for female classmates, and that self-construal also will be an adequate predictor of level of voice. Participants A total of 98 African-Am erican middle and high school students enrolled in San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) were asked to participate in the study. In San Francisco Un ified School District, students from 3 middle

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40 schools and 1 high school particip ated in this study. In Oa kland Unified School District, students from 5 high schools participated. Of these 98 students, 43 students were 7th graders (19 males and 24 females), 27 students were 9th graders (9 males and 18 females), and 28 students were 11th graders (7 males and 21 females). Since the focus of this st udy was on the selfconstrual and perceived level of voice of African-American student s, all responses from students who did not identify themselves as African -American were discarded from all analyses. Snapshot of San Francisco Unified and Oakland Unified School Districts At the tim e that data collection was comp leted, school districts across the state of California were dealing with budge t cuts that had the potential of significantly affecting the public school system. In January, 2008, the Governor of California issued a proposed revision in the budget to reduce monies that fund educational programs throughout the State by $4.8 billion dollars. This translated to about $40 milli on budget cut for SFUSD and $28 million budget cut for OUSD. As a result, all sc hool districts in California ge nerally, and San Francisco and Oakland public school districts spec ifically, had to prepare their f aculty and staff for layoffs, and the possibility of increased classroom sizes. In SFUSD and OUSD, all students had shown improvements in their scores for the Standardardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) pr ogram. However, both school districts were (and are currently) Program Improvement (PI) status According to the California Department of Education (2009), a school and/or sc hool district is identified for PI status if it fails to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 2 consecutive years in the same content area, school-wide, or for any numerically significant subgroup or on the same indicator (Academic Performance Index or high school graduation rates) school-wide. According to each school districts and individual schools School Accountability Re port Cards for the 2006-07 academic year, OUSD was in its 3rd year of Program Improvement (PI) stat us, with 44.2% of its schools having this

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41 status. SFUSD was in its 2nd year of PI, with 25% of its sch ools having this status. All schools in this study were in PI status, ranging from Year 1 to Year 5. Additionally, academic results continue to show wide disparities in achi evement between ethnic groups. In SFUSD, only 31.8% of African-American students who entered the ninth grade in 2003 in a San Francisco high school received a high school diploma in 2007. The overall district performance for this indicator for all students was 62.8%. Black and Latino students in SFUSD represent 75% of the students suspended, 80% of students in the juven ile justice system, 54% of students in special education, 68% of truant students, and 75% of students enrolled in the lowest performing elementary schools. In contrast, Blacks and Latin os represent 8% of the students enrolled in the highest performing elementary schools, 9% of students taking Advanced Placement examinations, and 13% of students in the gifted program (SFUSD, 2008). In OUSD, 71% of students who were suspe nded were Black and La tino (OUSD District Scorecard, 2008). In a survey of OUSD students, more than one third of middle school and high school students surveyed in 2007 said they do not f eel safe at school. In addition, large groups of parents agree that their children re port safety concerns at school. Less than half of middle school and high school students agree that the buildings and gr ounds at their schools are clean, at 43% and 44% respectively (OUSD Annual Report, 2007). Table 3-1 provides a snapshot of SFUSD and OUSD Academic Performance Index (API), wh ich measures the academic performance and Table 3-1. Academic Performance Index (2008) by Subgroup Overall Average AfricanAmerican Asian Latino Caucasian Special Education SFUSD 772 591 851 653 857 562 OUSD 676 610 801 643 889 475 California 741 659 864 683 814 552

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42 growth of schools on a variety of academic measur es, such as the STAR and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). API scores range from 200 to 1,000, with a statewide target of 741. Materials The Teenage Voice survey (Harter et. al, 1994, as cited by Harter, 1996) was used to evaluate level of voice. Harter, W aters, and Whitesell (1997) reported internal consistency reliabilities from three studies, ranging from .82 to .91. The Teenage Voice Survey is comprised of 3 sections. The first section assesses the depe ndent variable, level of voice. The questions of the survey were designed to measure the extent th at teenagers have the ab ility to express their opinions to four different groups of people: parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. Participants answered five questi ons for each group of people. After reading two contrasting statements, students were asked to choose which statement they were most like, and then chose how true that statement was for them. An example of two statements from the parent section is some teenagers share what they are really thinking with their parents BUT other teenagers find it hard to share what they are thinking with their pare nts. If the former statement was chosen, a score of 4 was give n if the student chose very true for me and a score of 3 was given if the student chose sort of true for me. If the latter statement was chosen, a score of 1 was given if the student chose very true for m e indicating the lowest le vel of voice for that question and a score of 2 was given for sort of true for me. Cronbachs alpha was .79 in the parental context, .69 in the teacher context, .72 in the male classmates context, and .77 in the female classmates context (Harter et al, 1994, as cited by Harter, 1996). The next two sections of the survey served as independent variables to predict level of voice. Section two of the survey is entitle d Reasons for not saying what one thinks (hereinafter referred to as Reasons ). The questions for this portion of the survey were used to

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43 address the specific reasons for st udents not to say what they thi nk. For each statement, students chose how true the statement was for them for each group of people: parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. The student s were given the option of choosing very true (score of 4), sort of true (score of 3), not very true (score of 2), or not at all tr ue (score of 1). At least four statements were used in order to eval uate categories used to assess specific reasons. These categories were lack of validation threat to the relationship dont have an opinion would feel embarrassed/ stupid and good woman stereotype (for female respondents only). Preliminary analysis for my study indicated that these items were highl y correlated with each other within each relational c ontext; therefore, Cronbachs alpha was computed for the items taken together. For the reasons that students cited as why they inhibited their level of voice, Cronbachs alpha was .92 in the parental contex t, .91 in the teacher co ntext, .90 in the male classmates context, and .92 for th e female classmates context. Because alpha exceeded .50 in all contexts, items were averaged into a Reasons scale for each relati onal context in my study. This allowed me to use Reasons as a whole in the multiple regression analysis for Research Question III. Section three of the survey is entitled Pe ople in my life (hereinafter referred to as Support for Voice). The questions for this portion of the survey were used to address the level of support that students receive for voicing th eir opinion to their pare nts, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. Five items for each of the four types of people were used to assess support of voice. For each item, students chose how true the statement was for them. Section three mirrored sec tion one in terms of the way the ques tions were asked and scored. An example of two statements from the parent sect ion is my parents do not listen to my opinions and take them seriously OR my parents do listen to my opinions and take them seriously. Cronbachs alpha was computed for each relational context for this study. Alpha was .81 for the

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44 parental context, .75 for the teach er context, .66 for the male cl assmates context, and .58 for female classmates context. The Self-Construal Scale (Singe lis, 1994) is a 24-item, 7-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree) that was used to measure the two dimensions of self-image, independent self-construal and interdependent se lf-construal. An example of a question that measured independent self-construal is, I am co mfortable with being sing led out for praise or rewards. An example of a question that meas ured interdependent self-construal is, My happiness depends on the happiness of those aro und me. Each question was randomly ordered on the scale. Using a diverse sample of 364 co llege students, explorat ory factor analysis by Singelis (1994) indicated support for the inde pendent and interdepe ndent subscales with Cronbachs alphas of .69 and .73, respectively. Conf irmatory factor analysis indicated further support for the independent and interdependent subscales with Cronbachs alphas of .70 and .74, respectively. Zaff and associates (2002) used th e Self-Construal Scale wi th 67 African-American 7th graders with a mean age of 12.55 and 45 Caucasian 7th graders with a mean age of 12.39. Some of the questions on the surv ey were reworded to reflect 7th grade experiences (e.g., I would offer my seat in a bus to a prof essor was changed to read I w ould offer my seat in a bus to a teacher). Reliability analys is indicated alphas of .69 and .81 for the independent and interdependent subscales, re spectively (Zaff et al., 2002). For my study, Cronbachs alpha was .79 for the independent self-constr ual scale and .80 for the interdep endent self-construal scale. Additionally, for my study each scale was divided at the median for low and high scores, and a variable was constructed that divided the students into f our groups: low independent/low interdependent; low independent/high interdepe ndent; high independent/low interdependent; and high independent/high interdepende nt. Given the age of my partic ipants, I used the reworded version of the self-construal scale from the Zaff et al. (2002) study.

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45 A supplementary form was also included to obtain demographic information. Students were asked to identify their age, sex, and grade level. Procedures An application to perform research in school s w as submitted for each school district. Once the application was approved by each school district I was able to contact school principals to ask their permission for students to participat e in my study. With the permission of each principal of participatin g schools, I addressed 7th, 9th, and 11th grade students in their English classes regarding the nature and importance of th e study. All students received informed consent forms, which were signed by a parent or guard ian and returned to their respective English teachers in order to participate in the study. I received support with administering the surveys from four undergraduate students from a local university (referred to as research assistants). Students were administered the surveys in a gro up setting. A research assi stant with the project read students a child assent script, which inform ed students of their right s as participants. A research assistant gave students an example of a question from each section of the surveys to ensure that students understood how numbers on Likert scales correspond to their perceptions. Students were told to finish the surveys at thei r own pace, with a researcher being available to answer any questions that studen ts had about the completion of the survey. After completion of the survey, students were thanked by a rese archer for participating in the study. Data Analysis Frequencies were calculated to obtain m eans and standard de viations for level of voice, Reasons, and Support for Voice in each relational context (parents, teachers, male classmates and female classmates) and for the sample as a whol e. Means and standard deviations were also obtained for independent and inte rdependent self-construal.

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46 Research question I: A three-way Analysis of Va riance (ANOVA) was used to determine whether mean scores for level of voice differed on the basis of sex, grade, and selfconstrual. Specifically, a 2(sex of student) by 3(grade of student: 7th, 9th, and 11th) by 4(high independent/high interdependent, low independent/low interdependent, high independent/low interdependent, low independent/high interdependent) ANOVA was calculated for each relational context. Research question II: A Pearson correlation coefficient ( r) was used to determine if any significant relationships existed be tween scores on measures of level of voice, Support for Voice, self-construal, and the specific items on the Reas ons scale. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to determine the streng th and direction of those relationships. Guidelines suggested by Cohen (1988) were used for interpreting the strength of relationships of th e correlations. A twotailed test of the correlations was use d, with significance levels assessed at .05. Research question III: In order to assess whether Reas ons, Support for Voice, or selfconstrual were adequate predictors of level of voice with this population of students, multiple regression analysis (R2) was used. A multiple regression analysis was performed for each relationship (parents, teachers, male classmates female classmates). Also reported are the unstandardized regression coefficients (B), the standardized regr ession coefficients ( ), the observed t-values (t), the signi ficance level (p) and the square d semi-partial correlations (r2) for each relationship. The relationship between the Reasons, Support for Voice, self-construal and the dependent variable (level of voice) were investigated utilizing the following model: Y = A + B1X1 + B2X2 + B3X3 + B4X4 + E. Y = Level of Voice A = Y-intercept Bi = Regression coefficient

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47 X1 = Reasons X2 = Support for voice X3 = Independent Self-Construal X4 = Interdependent Self-Construal

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48 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Preliminary Analyses Table 4-1 includes the mean scor es and standard deviations for level of voice, Reasons, and Support for Voice for each rela tional context, and for independent an d interdependent selfconstrual. Analysis of Vari ance (ANOVA) was used to explor e differences in mean scores among these variables. Table 4-1. Means and Standard Deviations for Level of Voice, Reasons, Support for Voice and Self-Construal M(SD) 7t h grade 9t h grade 11t h grade Males Females Level of Voice* Parents 2.51(.74) 2.51(.69) 2.53(.94) 2.63(.75) 2.51(.70) 2.57(.82) Teachers 2.68(.94) 2.71(.62) 2.75(.69) 2.57(.73) 2.57(.53) 2.74(.73) Male Classmates 2.65(.93) 2.51(.57) 2 .88(.75) 2.65(.75) 2.63(.49) 2.66(.78) Female Classmates 2.87(.99) 2.82(.77) 3.10(.61) 2.71(.80) 2.66(.68) 2.99(.76) Reasons* Parents 1.89(.68) 2.27(.74) 2.00(.44) 1.61 (.49) 2.05(.77) 1.81(.62) Teachers 1.89(.68) 2.25(.78) 1.67(.45) 1.57 (.40) 2.09(.79) 1.78(.59) Male Classmates 2.02(.72) 2.22(.73) 1.78(.49) 1.85 (.55) 1.98(.66) 2.00(.65) Female Classmates 1.99(.65) 2.33(.82) 1.77(.54) 1.78 (.51) 2.26(.80) 1.88(.65) Support for Voice* Parents 3.03(.98) 3.06(.73) 3.04(.72) 2.99(.75) 3. 23(.61) 2.92(.77) Teachers 2.93(.87) 2.84(.71) 3.01(.52) 2.97(.63) 2.87(.65) 2.96(.63) Male Classmates 2.57(.89) 2.52(.57) 2 .44(.57) 2.76(.61) 2.56(.48) 2.57(.65) Female Classmates 2.75(.85) 2.80(.62) 2.72(.43) 2.71(.52) 2.67(.62) 2.80(.50) Self-Construal** Independent 5.08(.89) 5.04( 1.09) 5.18(.84) 5.07(.55) 5.22(.78) 5.01(.94) Interdependent 4.62(.93) 4.6 5(1.04) 4.56(.95) 4.63(.73) 4.76(.88) 4.54(.95) _______________________________________________________________________ *Variables coded from 1 (not true at all) to 4 (very true) for Teenage Voice Scale **Variables coded from 1 (strong ly disagree) to 7 (strongly ag ree) for Self-Construal Scale A median split of scores was used to determine which responses would be deemed high verses low on the self-construal scale. Low i ndependent scores had a mean of 4.42 (SD = .72)

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49 and high independent scores had a mean of 5.75 (SD = .42). Low interdependent scores had a mean of 4.20 (SD = .91) and high interdependent scores had a mean of 5.04 (SD = .74). In all, 34 participants were classified as low-independent/low interdep endent, 33 participants were classified as high-independent/h igh interdependent, 15 participan ts were classified as lowindependent/high interdependent, and 16 participan ts were classified as high-independent/low interdependent. Research Question I Do the m ean scores of African-American adolescents on the perceived level of voice scale in four relational contexts differ based on their gender, gr ade, or type of self-construal? Based on the median splits for independence and interdependence, individual participants were described in four combinations of the two constructs: 1) high -independent/high interdependent (HH); 2) low-independent/low-interdependent (LL); 3) high-independent/low interdependent (HL); and 4) low-independent/hi gh interdependent (LH). For th e first analysis, self-construal was treated as a categorical variable, using the four comb inations of self-construal. First Analysis A 2 (sex: M, F) x 3 (grade: 7, 9, 11) x 4 (HH, LL, HL, LH) ANOVA was used, with perceived level of voice scores as the dependent variable. Table 4-2 incl udes only the significant m ain effects; there were no interactions among any of the independent variables. Findings for the parent relational context: Within the parent relational context, there were no significant main effects for sex [F ( 1, 75) = .16, p = .68], grade [F (2, 75) = 1.16; p = .32], or type of self-construal [F (3, 75) = 2.2; p = .09]. Also, there were no significant interactions among any of these variables. Findings for the teacher relational context: Within the teacher relational context, there were no significant main effects for sex [F (1, 75) = .34; p = .56], grade [F (2, 75) = .06; p = .94],

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50 or type of self-construal [F (3, 75) = 1.67, p = .18) Also, there were no significant interactions among any of these variables. Findings for the male classmates relational context: There was a significant main effect for grade [F (2, 75) = 3.29, p <.04] (see Tabl e 4-2). Mean scores for level of voice with male classmates were highest for 9th graders (M = 2.88), next highest for 11th graders (M = 2.65) and lowest for 7th grader s (M = 2.51). However, follo w-up comparisons using Tukey HSD indicated that none of the means were si gnificantly different from each other. The difference between 7th and 9th graders mean scor es had a significance level of .073, so this may account for the main effect but it is not a notable difference. There we re no other significant main effects or interactions for the male classmates relational context. Findings for the female cla ssmates relational context: There was a significant main effect for self-construal type [F (3, 75) = 4.05, p <.01] (see Table 4-2). Follow-up comparisons using Tukey HSD indicated that mean scores for HH students (M = 3.04) and HL students (M = 3.30) were significantly higher th an mean scores for LL students (p<.003 for LL vs. HL and p<.018 for LL vs. HH). Students who see themselv es as high in independence but low in interdependence perceived themselves to have the highest level of voi ce with their female classmates; significantly higher th an students who see themselves as low in both independence and interdependence. Students who see th emselves as high in both independence and interdependence also perceived themselves to have a higher level of voice with their female classmates than people who see themselves as low in both independence and interdependence. The strength of this relati onship, as assessed by Eta square d, was .14, indicating that selfconstrual type accounted for about 14% of the vari ance in level of voice with female classmates. There were no other significant main effects or interactions for the female classmates relational context.

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51 Table 4-2. Significant Main Effects for Grade an d Level of Voice with Male Classmates and Significant Main Effects for Self-Construal Type and Level of Voice with Female Classmates Level of Voice SS MS DF F p 2 Male Classmates Model 11.43 .52 22 1.14 .33 .25 Grade 3.01 1.50 2 3.29 .04* .08 Female Classmates Model 23.59 1.07 22 2.64 .00* .44 Self-Construal 4.94 1.65 3 4.05 .01* .14 *p < .05 Second Analysis As noted ear lier, a median split was used to identify scores as high and low in the constructs (independence and interdependence) on the self-construal scale. Identifying individual participants as HH, LL, HL, and LH is one way of looking at se lf-construal. Another was is to compare the scores of students on either side of the median split for each construct, that is, to compare the scores of students who are high in independence with the scores of students who are low in independence, and the scores of students who are high in interdependence with the scores of students who are lo w in interdependence. This wa s done via a series of one-way ANOVAs with level of voice as the dependent variable and in dependence (high vs. low) and interdependence (high vs. low) as independent va riables. In all cases, N = 49 since the groups were formed via median split. Comparisons were again done for each relational context. Findings for independence in th e parent relational context: Mean scores on level of voice with parents were significantly higher [F (1, 96) = 5.37; p < .023] for high independent students (M = 3.37) than for low-independent students (M = 2.37). These students were more likely to perceive themselves as having a high level of voice with their parents if th ey identified as highly independent in their relationships in general. The strength of th e relationship, as assessed by Eta

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52 squared, was .053, indicating that le vel of independent self-constr ual (high vs. low) accounts for about 5% of the variance in leve l of voice scores with parents. Findings for independence in the teacher relational context: No significant effect for independent self-construal was observed on level of voice scores with teachers. Findings for independence in the male classmates relational context: No significant effect for independent self-constr ual was observed on level of voice scores with male classmates. Findings for independence in the female classmates relational context: Mean scores on level of voice with female classmates were significantly higher [F (1, 96) = 13.07, p < .001] for high-independent students (M = 3.13) than for low-independent students (M = 2.61). These students were more likely to perceive themselv es as having a high level of voice with their female classmates if they identi fied as highly independent in thei r relationships in general. The strength of the relationship, as assessed by Eta squared, was .12, indi cating that level of independent self-construal (high vs. low) accounts for about 12% of the variance in level of voice scores with female classmates. Table 4-3. Significant Effects of High I ndependence vs. Low Independence and High Interdependence vs. Low Interdependen ce on Level of Voice with Parents and Female Classmates Level of Voice SS MS DF F p 2 Parents Independence 3.09 3.09 1 5.38 .02* .05 Interdependence .29 .29 1 .47 .49 .00 Female Classmates Independence 6.48 6.48 1 13.07 .00* .12 Interdependence .89 .89 1 1.61 .21 .02 ______________________________________________________________________________ *p < .05 Findings for interdependence: In all four relational contex ts, no significant effect for interdependent self-construal was observed on level of voice scores Students perceptions of

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53 themselves as high or low in interdependence we re unrelated to their perceived level of voice with parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. Research Question II Pearson correlation coefficien ts were used in order to determine whet her there were linear relationships between level of voice and the pr edictor variables. C ohens (1988) suggested guidelines were used in determining the strength of the relationships. Da ta were collapsed over age and gender because there were no effects for these variables on Level of Voice scores. Parents Table 4-8 includes the correla tions between level of voice with parents and the predictor variables. B ased on the correlation matri x, there was a strong correlation between Independent self-construal and interdependent self-construal. This means that students who perceived themselves as being highly independent in thei r self-construal were al so likely to perceive themselves as highly interdependent in their self -construal. For the parent relational context, there was a small negative relationship between independent self-construal and lack of validation from parents and good woman stereotype This means that students who perceived that they had a low independent self-construa l were more likely to cite lack of validation and the good woman stereotype as reasons for not expressing their true opini ons to their parents. Level of voice was also negatively correlated the most, although moderately, with dont have an opinion, and would feel stupid within the Reasons scale. This means that students who perceived themselves as having a low level of voice with their parents were more likely to cite dont have an opinion and would feel stupid as reasons for not expressing their true opinions to thei r parents. Level of voice had a moderate positive relationship with Suppor t for Voice, which means that students who perceived themselves as having a high level of vo ice with their parents also perceived that they had support from their parents for expressing their tr ue opinions.

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54 Support for Voice was significantly negatively correlated with all of the categories within the Reasons subscale, which indicates that stude nts perceived all of the categories as valid reasons for not expressing their true opinions with their parents. Support for Voice was significantly negatively correlated with lack of validation which means that students who perceived that they had low support for their voice s from their parents were more likely to cite lack of validation as their reason for not expressing thei r true opinions. Within the Reasons subscale, there were several significant intercorrelations. Would feel stupid and good woman stereotype were most strongly correlated. Students w ho perceived themselves as inhibiting their voices because they would feel embarrassed or stupid were also likely to cite the good woman stereotype as a reason for inhibiting their voices with their parents. Teachers Table 4-9 includes Pearson correlations for Le vel of voice and the pr ed ictor variables. Independent self-construal was significantly negatively correlated with dont have an opinion, would feel stupid, and good woman stereotype within the Reasons subscale. This indicates that students who perceive themselves as having a low independent self-construa l were likely to cite the aforementioned categories as reasons for not expressing their true voices to teachers. Interdependent self-construal was correlated with Support for Voi ce, indicating that students who perceived themselves as having a high interdependent self-construal were also likely to perceive themselves as having support for their voices from their teachers. Level of voice with teachers was sign ificantly negatively correlated with lack of validation and dont have an opinion within the Reasons scale. This means that students who perceived themselves as having a low level of voice with their teachers were also likely to cite lack of validation and dont have an opinion as reasons for not expressing their true opinions with their teachers. Level of voice was also signif icantly correlated with Support for Voice This indicates

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55 that students who perceived themselves as having a high level of voice with their teachers were also likely to perceive themselves as having su pport for their voices from their teachers. There were several significant interc orrelations within the Reasons subscale. The strongest correlation was between threat to the relationship and good woman stereotype This indicates that students who cited threat to the relationship as a reason for not expressing their true voices with their teachers were also likely to cite the good woman stereotype as a reason for not expressing their true voice with their teachers. Male Classmates Table 4-10 includes Pearson corre lations between level of voice with m ale classmates and the predictor variables. Independent self-construa l was significantly negatively correlated with would feel stupid within the Reasons subscale. This indicates that students who perceived themselves as having a low independent se lf-construal were more likely to cite would feel stupid as a reason for not expressing their true opinions to their male classmates. Level of voice was not significantly correlated with the predictor variable Support for Voice with male classmates. However, level of voice was significantly correlated with all of the categories within the Reasons subscale. The strongest (negative) co rrelation was between level of voice and would feel stupid indicating that students who perceived themselves as having a low level of voice with their male classmates were also likely to cite would feel stupid as a reason for not expressing their true voices to their male classmates. There were significant negative correlati ons between Support for Voice and both lack of validation and would feel stupid This indicates that students who perceived themselves as lacking in support for their voices from their male classmates were more likely to cite lack of validation and would feel stupid as reasons for not expressing th eir true opinions. There were several intercorrelations within the Reasons s ubscale that were signifi cant. The strongest

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56 intercorrelation was between lack of validation and would feel stupid This indicates that students who cited lack of validation as a reason for not expressing their true opinions with their male classmates were also likely to cite would feel stupid as a reason for inhibiting their voices with their male classmates. Female Classmates Table 4-11 includes the correlation coefficients of students pe rceptions of their level of voice with their f emale classmates and the pred ictor variables. There is a significant positive relationship between independent se lf-construal and level of voice with female classmates. This indicates that students who perceived themselv es as having a high inde pendent self-construal also perceived themselves as having a higher level of voice with their female classmates. Independent self-construal was also positively correlated with Support for Voice, meaning that students who perceived themselves as having a high independent self-cons trual also perceived themselves as having strong support for their voices from their female classmates. Independent self-construal had a significan t negative relationship with threat to the relationship dont have an opinion, and the good woman stereotype within the Reasons subscal e. This indicates that students who perceived themselves as having a lo w independent self-construal were more likely to cite the aforementioned reasons for not e xpressing their true opinions to their female classmates. Interdependent self-construal was not significantly correlated with any of the predictor variables. Level of voice had a significant negative relationship with dont have an opinion and the good woman stereotype. This indicates that students who perceived themselves as having a low level of voice with their female classmates were more likely to cite dont have an opinion and the good woman stereotype as reasons for not expressing their true opinions. Level of voice was not significantly correlated with Support for Voice with female classmates. There were several

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57 significant intercorrelations within the Reasons subscale. The strongest intercorrelation was between dont have an opinion and would feel stupid This indicates that students who cited dont have an opinion as a reason for inhibiting their voices with their female classmates were also likely to cite would feel stupid as a reason for inhibiting their voices with their female classmates. Research Question III A m ultiple regression analysis was used to examine the degree of association between level of voice and the explanat ory variables: self-construal Reasons (taken as a whole, because scores on Reasons items were highly correlated with each other in each relational context), and Support for Voice, for students re lationships with their parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. The purpose of this analysis was to assess whether Reasons (as a whole), Support for Voice, and self-construal were adequa te predictors of Leve l of voice with this population. Tables 4-4, 4-5, 4-6 a nd 4-7 report the unsta ndardized regression coefficients (B), the standardized regression coefficients ( ), the observed t-values (t ), the significance level (p), and the squared semi-partial correlations (r2) for each relational context. Parents Table 4-4 reports the results of the analysis within the par ent relational context. The analysis indicated that the model repr esented by self-construal, Reasons, and Support for Voice was significant [R2=.22 adjusted R2 =.19, F(4, 93) = 6.60, p = .00]. However, based on the tstatistic, independent self-construal [t(97) = 2.04, p = .05] and Support for Voice [t(97) = 3.48, p = .00] from parents made a significant contribution to the predictive measures. Teachers Table 4-5 reports the results of the analysis within the te acher relational context. The analysis indicated that the m odel represented by self-construal, Reasons and Support for Voice

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58 was significant [R2 = .15, adjusted R2 = .11, F(4, 93) = 3.97, p = .01]. However, based on the tstatistic, Support for Voice from teachers made a si gnificant contribution to the predictive measures [t(97) = 2.79, p = .01]. Male Classmates Table 4-6 reports the results of the analysis wi thin the m ale classmates relational context. The analysis indicated that the model represented by self-construal Reasons, and Support for Voice was significant [R2 = .15, adjusted R2 = .11, F(4, 93) = 3.96, p = .01]. However, based on the t-statistic, Reasons made a significant contribution to th e predictive measures [t(97) = -3.27, p = .00]. Female Classmates Table 4-7 re ports the results of the analysis within the female classmates relational context. The analysis indicated that the model represented by self-construal, Reasons and Support for Voice was significant [R2 = .16, adjusted R2 = .12, F(4, 93) = 4.29, p = .00]. However, based on the t-statisti c, independent self-construal made a significant contribution to the predictive measures [t(97) = 2.99, p = .00].

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59 Table 4-4. Multiple Regression Estimates for Predictors of Level of Voice with Parents Predictors B t p semi-partial Independent Self-Construal .31 .20 2.04 .05* .21 Interdependent Self-Construal -.06 -.42 -.42 .68 -.04 Reasons -.16 -.14 -1.41 .16 -.14 Support for Voice .36 .34 3.48 .00* .34 *p < .05 Model: R = .47, R2 = .22, adjusted R2 = .19 F = 6.60, df = 4, p = .00* Table 4-5. Multiple Regression Estimates for Predictors of Level of Voice with Teachers Predictors B t p semi-partial Independent Self-Construal .26 .19 1.85 .07 .19 Interdependent Self-Construal -.15 .11 -1.05 .30 .11 Reasons -.15 -.15 -1.56 .12 -.16 Support for Voice .30 .28 2.79 .01* .28 *p < .05 Model: R = .38, R2 = .15, adjusted R2 = .11 F = 3.97, df = 4, p = .01* Table 4-6. Multiple Regression Estimates for Predictors of Level of Voice with Male Predictors B t p semi-partial Independent Self-Construal .08 .06 .58 .56 .06 Interdependent Self-Construal -.16 -.12 -1.12 .26 -.12 Reasons -.35 -.33 -3.27 .00* -.32 Support for Voice .07 .06 .64 .52 .07 *p < .05 Model: R = .38, R2 = .15, adjusted R2 = .11 F = 3.96, df = 4, p = .01* Table 4-7. Multiple Regression Estimates for Pr edictors of Level of Voice with Female Classmates Predictors B t p semi-partial Independent Self-Construal .47 .31 2.99 .00* .30 Interdependent Self-Construal .07 .01 .05 .96 .01 Reasons -.19 -.17 -1.92 .06 .20 Support for Voice .04 .03 .32 .75 .03 ______________________________________________________________________________ *p < .05 Model: R = .40, R2 = .16, adjusted R2 = .12 F = 4.29, df = 4, p = .00*

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60Table 4-8. Pearson Correlations between Level of Voice with Parents and Predictor Variables Subscale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1. Independent SC -.66** .16 -.25* -.19 -.20 -0.18 -.26** .15 2. Interdependent SC -.10 -.11 .04 .08 0.04 .05 .20 3. Level of Voice --.38** -.27**-.22* -0.24* -.10 .40** 4. Lack of Validation -.76**.54** 0.70** .60** -.47** 5. Threat to Relationship -.66** 0.74** .71** -.28** 6. Dont Have Opinion -0.72** .76** -.22** 7. Would Feel Stupid -.79** -.29** 8. Good Woman --.22* 9. Support for Voice -**p = .01, *p = .05 Table 4-9. Pearson Correlations between Level of Voice with Teachers and Predictor Variables Subscale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1. Independent SC -.66** .08 -.19 -.16 -.30** -.22* -.27** .09 2. Interdependent SC -.04 -.07 .07 .02 -.02 .03 .27** 3. Level of Voice --.30** -.15 -.23* -.18 -.05 .29** 4. Lack of Validation -.68** .65** .59** .66** -.18 5. Threat to Relationship -.73** .68** .75** -.08 6. Dont Have Opinion -.71** .72** -.09 7. Would Feel Stupid -.64** -.15 8. Good Woman --.11 9. Support for Voice -**p=.01, *p = .05

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61Table 4-10. Pearson Correla tions between Level of Voice with Male Classmates and Predictor Variables Subscale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1. Independent SC -.66** .02 -.15 -.09 -.15 -.20* -.17 .16 2. Interdependent SC --.19 .05 .09 .11 .06 .12 .13 3. Level of Voice --.31** -.31** -.29** -.35** -.26* .11 4. Lack of Validation -.69** .52** .77** .58** -.36 5. Threat -.56** .65** .62** -.18 6. Opinion -.65** .75** .03 7. Would Feel Stupid -.65** -.22* 8. Good Woman --.04 9. Support for Voice -*p = .05, **p=.01 Table 4-11. Pearson Correla tions between Level of Voice with Fema le Classmates and Predictor Variables Subscale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1. Independent SC -.66** .26** -.15 -.26* -.25* -.17 -.23* .31** 2. Interdependent SC -.16 .05 -.04 .03 .07 -.01 .14 3. Level of Voice --.19 -.18 -.24* .17 -.22* .13 4. Lack of Validation -.73** .61** .73** .67* -.18 5. Threat -.64** .64** .76** -.13 6. Opinion -.77** .74** -.03 7. Would Feel Stupid -.67** -.09 8. Good Woman --.13 9. Support for Voice -**p=.01, *p = .05

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62 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION This study sought to further understand the com plexities of investiga ting self-construal and level of voice among African-American middle and hi gh school students. Th e results offer some confirmation, but also some contrasts, with prev ious research, and point to a number of areas where further research is needed. Research Question I The first analysis of this research ques tion exam ined perceived level of voice among African-American students in the San Francisco Bay Area, and explored possible relationships among level of voice, gender, grade level, and th e predictor variables (s elf-construal, Support for Voice and Reasons). The analys is indicated that there were no significant interactions among gender, grade level, independent self-construal, and in terdependent self-cons trual in any of the relational contexts. The abse nce of significant interactions for gender and grade level is similar to what Harter et al. (1998) found in their examination of high school students. In that study, there were no significant main effects for grade, nor was there a grade by gender interaction. In my examination of parent and teacher relational contex ts, there were no significant main effects for sex, grade, or type of self-construal. Ther e was a significant difference in mean scores for level of voice with male classmates based on gr ades. Seventh grade students had the lowest level of voice with their male classmates and 9th grade students had the highest. Although follow-up comparisons indicated that the mean scor es for the three grades were not significantly different from each other, this finding is wort h noting, because in my previous study with all middle school students, there was a main effect fo r grade in level of voice mean scores, but only for the parent relational context. For the most part, level of voice does not seem to change much

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63 during adolescence, but future research should expl ore the possibility that increases in level of voice may take place early in adolescence but level off by the high school years. Within the female relational context, students who perceived themselves as being high in independence and high in interdependence, as well as students who perceived themselves as being high in independence but low in interdepe ndence had the highest level of voice with their female classmates. Many explanations are possi ble for the observation that students have varying levels of voice based on self-construal type with their female classmates. Highly independent students having a higher level of voice is consistent with Markus and Kitayamas (1991) observation that those who manifest an independent self -construal express themselves, are direct, and say what is on their minds. This is similar to the definition used to describe level of voice. In this particular example, those pa rticipants with a well-de fined independent selfconstrual may be more likely to have a higher le vel of voice with significa nt others, specifically female classmates. Why might high-independent st udents have a higher level of voice with their female classmates? One possibility is that female students silence themselves to protect their relationships (Brown & Gilligan, 1992). Dialogue then becomes one-sided, giving highindependent students more opportunities to say what is on their minds. Another possibility is that when high-independent students speak, it is the female classmates who are likely to be listening, due to females socialization to be good listeners. Since teens often have things to say that they do not want to share with parents or teachers, they may trust their well-socialized female classmates with the information. Finall y, it is possible that independence in general increases across the teen years, and being able to share opinions with friends may contribute to the development of an independent self-construal.

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64 Approximately 33% of the participants perceived themselves as being high in independence and high in interdependence. Alth ough this percentage does not reflect a majority of the participants perceptions, this finding still lends support to Singelis (1994) assertion that African-Americans may score high on both dimensions of the self-c onstrual scale due to the need for functioning in both individualis tic and collectivist cultures. An interesting possibility for future research would be to see if the percen tage of African-Americans who see themselves as high in both independence and interdependence in creases as students get older and have more experiences and opportunities to move seam lessly between culture s (Singelis, 1994). In the studys second analysis, self-construal sc ores were compared on either side of the median split for each construct and its relationship with level of voice for each relational context. Specifically, I compared the scores of students who were high in independence with the scores of students who were low in independence, and the scores of students who were high in interdependence with the scores of students who were low in inte rdependence. For the parent and female classmates relational contexts, mean scor es on level of voice were significantly higher for high-independent students than fo r low-independent students, which indicates that students in this sample were more likely to perceive themse lves as having a high level of voice with their parents and female classmates if they identified as highly indepe ndent in their relationships in general. Although high-independent people perceive themselves as separate from others, in my sample this did not result in a lower perceived level of voice within the parent and female classmates relational contexts. Instead, it appears that in two of the four relational contexts, having a well-defined independent self-construal was consistent with being able to express ones true opinions. Why might this be the case for parents as well as female classmates? One

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65 possibility is that parents who foster the deve loping independence of thei r adolescent children do so by listening to their opinions. In all four relational contexts no significant effect for inte rdependent self-construal was observed for level of voice scores. Students pe rceptions of themselves as high or low in interdependence were unrelated to their perceived level of voice with parents, teachers, male classmates, and female classmates. Although this study did not use response s from other ethnic groups for comparative purposes, this is still an interesting finding, given the assumption that African-Americans are higher in collectiv ism and lower in independence (Coon and Kemmelmeier, 2001; Singelis, 1994). Yeh (1999) determined that Afri can-American views on the interdependent self shift and change not only to fulfill various role expectations but also to avoid them. For this population of students, th is may indicate that inte rdependence apparently has no relationship to being able to speak ones mind with significant others. But being high in interdependence does not prevent students from being able to express their voices if they are also high in independence. Three of the relational contex ts explored in this st udy take place to a large extent in school (teachers, male and female clas smates), and all the students in this study were attending schools districts that are in Program Improvement status, show wide disparities in achievement between ethnic groups, and experien ce safety concerns. Interdependence may not be a vehicle for true self-expression in this ki nd of environment, though it may be in other contexts not surveyed here, such as with close friends. Research Question II For this question, Pearson correlation coeffici ents were used to determ ine whether there were linear relationships between level of voice and the predictor va riables. Overall, there was a strong correlation between independe nt self-construal and interdepe ndent self-construal. This means that students who perceived themselves as highly independent in th eir self-construal were

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66 also more likely to perceive themselves as be ing highly interdependent in their self-construal. This finding is similar to that of Zaff et al. (2002) who found that there was a significant positive relationship between scores on th e interdependent and independe nt scales, and Singelis (1994) who stated that independent and interdependent selves may coexist within an individual. Level of Voice and Self-Construal Level of voice was not significantly correlated with either independent self-construal or interdepend ent self-construal for the parent, teacher, and male cl assmates relational contexts. Consistent with earlier analyses and probably for the same r easons, there was a significant correlation between level of voice and independent self-construal in the female classmates relational context; leve l of voice was not significantly corre lated with interdependent selfconstrual in the female relational context. Level of Voice and Reasons The reasons in the Reaso ns scale are primarily negative; they reveal possible explanations for not expressing ones true opin ion. With the exception of dont have an opinion they are based on a sensed lack of support or safety in a relationship. In addressi ng the reasons why they would not express their voices to their parents, students were most likely to cite lack of validation and threat to the relationship This is an interesting finding given that highinterdependent people, as well as females, ar e prone to silencing their voices to protect relationships (Brown and Gilligan, 1992). In this sample, however, the only significant correlation between self-construa l and one of the reasons is between low-independence and lack of validation For the teacher relational context, students cited lack of validation and dont have an opinion as reasons why they would not express them selves to their teachers. This finding is similar to my thesis results, which indicated that students would not expre ss their voices to their teachers because they did not have an opinion. This finding is also similar to that of Harter et al.

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67 (1994) who found that for the teacher relational context, students were most likely to cite lack of validation as the reason for inhi biting their voices. For the male classmates relational context, level of voice was signifi cantly correlated with all of the categories within Reasons, with would feel stupid being the most frequently cited reason for inhibiting voice. In this study, no data were collected regarding other characteristics of male students in the schools. It is unclear whether male classmates perceived inability to honor their classmates voices is due to developmental factors, or cultural and contextual ones. It is clear that African-American students, partic ularly males, are disproportionately represented in school suspensions, and the juven ile justice system (Leone et al. 2003). What is unclear is if the participants in my study are interacting wi th African-American male students who fit these characteristics. However, based on the API scores for African-American students in both districts in comparison with othe r groups, it may be that for these African-American males, being unsuccessful in the classroom also means being un successful in having healthy relationships with others. Further research should explore students relationships w ith their male classmates and the complexity that is associated with it. In contrast, when addressi ng the reasons why they would not express their voices with their female classmates, students cited dont have an opinion and for female participants, good woman stereotype It would be interesting to investigate whether African-American female students and other ethnicities are in terpreting what the good woman stereotype is in the same way. African-Ameri can females are receiving subversive messages about being female and African-Ameri can (Taylor et al., 1995 ) and this can be detrimental to their sense of self, and th eir expression of who they really are. Level of Voice and Support for Voice Level of voice was significantly correlated with Support for Vo ice within the parent and teacher relational con texts, but not for the male classmates and female classmates relational

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68 contexts. This is an interesting contrast with my previous thesis research, where I found that level of voice was not significantly correlated with Support for Voice for parent, teacher, and female classmates relational contexts (though the variables were co rrelated with male classmates). Only middle school st udents participated in that st udy, so it is possible that older adolescents experience their ability to express their opinions differently with parents and teachers than younger adolescents doin this case, in a positive way. Parents and teachers who support adolescents self-expression may create a climat e where students feel their voices are heard. Within the home setting, students may feel that they can say what is really on their minds to their parents without fear of retri bution. Within the classroom setting, students may not feel comfortable expressing their true opinions, especially if they ar e counter to the opinions of the class as a whole. Lack of support for ones vo ice is a major factor leading adolescents to suppress their voices (Harter et al., 1997). The relationship between self-construal and Sup port for Voice was interesting in two ways. First, independent self-construal and Support for Voice were signi ficantly correlate d within the teachers and female classmates relational contex ts. Second, interdependent self-construal was significantly correlated with Support for Voice within the teacher rela tional context. In all of the analyses completed, this was the only significant result for the interdependence construct. It is important to note that both independence and in terdependence are associated with Support for Voice with teachers. This may indicate that the teachers use practices that foster both independence and collectivism in their classrooms, so that students who have high independent and/or high interdependent se lf-construal feel supported. Good Woman Stereotype Also worth noting is the relationship between the good woman stereotype and the predictor variables. Gilligan (1982) described the good woman stereotype to mean that a woman who is

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69 respected in society is one w ho is kind, not opinionated, and most importantly, quiet. As previously mentioned, there was a significant ne gative relationship between level of voice and good woman stereotype within the male classmates and fema le classmates relational contexts. Female participants who perceived themselves as having a low level of voice with their male and female classmates were more likely to cite the good woman stereotype as the reason for not expressing their true opinions. An important protective factor for level of voice for females is a meaningful relationship with ot her females (Taylor et al., 1995) However, these results are more consistent with Brown and Gilligan (1992), w ho stated that females silence themselves or are silenced to decrease the pr esence of conflict that may resu lt in the dissol ution of the relationship. Another interesting finding was that the good woman stereotype was negatively correlated with independent self-c onstrual for the parents, teachers and female classmates relational contexts. Female participants who perceived themselves as having a low independent selfconstrual were more likely to cite the good woman stereotype as a reason for not expressing their true opinion. While interdep endent self-construal is most often seen in females (Cross & Madson, 1997), what I observed instead was not an e ffect for interdependence, but an effect for a low level of independence. With the good woman stereotype girls are taught the traditional female roles in society. Although African-American girls are taught this traditional view, they are also encouraged to be strong, self-sufficient, and to fight when they believe that there has been an injustice against them (Taylor et al., 199 5). An interesting question for future research would be to explore how attribut es of self-construal serve as a protective factor against the good woman stereotype

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70 Research Question III A m ultiple regression analysis was used to assess whether Reasons (as a whole), Support for Voice, and self-construal were adequate pred ictors of level of voice with this population. The inclusion of self-cons trual helps us to understa nd the cultural factors that play a role in students relationships with others. The result s indicated that although th e model was significant across relational contexts, the variab le(s) that contributed the most to the predictability of level of voice differed among these contexts. For the parent relational contex t, independent selfconstrual and Support for Voice made the most si gnificant contributions in predicting level of voice. For the teachers relational context, S upport for Voice made the most significant contribution in predicting level of voice. For th e male classmates relational context, Reasons for not expressing true feelings made the most si gnificant contribution. Lastly, for the female relational context, independent self-construal made the most si gnificant contribution. This is consistent with the work of Harter (1996, 1997, 1998) and Singelis (1994) both of whom have concluded that level of voice and self-constr ual are relational and change depending upon the situation and/or who is being addressed Additionally, given the fact that Harter used predominately Caucasian participants for her st udies, it can be concluded that the contextspecificity of level of voice doe s not differ for Caucasian and Af rican-American students. This lends credibility to Harters (1999) statement that differences in socialization experiences manifest themselves in behavior and adolescents create multiple selves for the different social roles or contexts that they are i n. As adolescents mature, they c ontinually evaluate which self is most representative of them, and this is a part of the developmental process of identity formation. It is important to note that fo r this population, the male classm ates relational context is the only one where a negative relationship (Reasons), as opposed to a positive one, predicts (lower) level of voice. These differences in the socializat ion experiences that participants have with their

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71 male classmates may create a struggle for participants in determining which self is the real me. With male classmates, participants may be given approval only when living up to a particular standard, which elicits false self-behavior from th e participants (Harter, 1999). Additionally, for these students to feel that they can truly say what is on their minds, they particularly value support for their voices from their parents and te achers. Lastly, participants may appreciate the ability to express their independent self-construal with their female classmates, where they are able to express their personal interests and goals that are unrelated to others. Consistent with Harter (1997) there were no significant main effects for grade, and not enough evidence in this study to support a finding of differences in level of voice based on age. In all of Harters studies using the Teenage Voice Survey, as well as my studies, the measure was used among middle and high school students. Given the fact that there does not seem to be a developmental trend for level of voice beyond ear ly middle school (as observed in my thesis study), this may indicate that leve l of voice develops earlier in a dolescence rather than later. Also, the lack of observed gender differences for level of voice with this population may mean that both males and females are having experience s that are more similar than different in their relationships with their parents, teachers, and classmates. Limitations Because all of the participants were Af rican-American, it was not possib le to make comparisons regarding any of the variables in this study based on ethnic ity. Therefore, it is unknown how the findings reported here might diffe r from scores on the same measure with students from other ethnic groups. However, it is a fallacy to assume that simply because all of the participants were African-American that there is group homogeneity (Coon & Kemmelmeier, 2001). This may have the unintentional consequen ce of creating an overgen eralization regarding a group of people, which diminishes the vast with in-group differences that this group may have.

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72 Another limitation is that students were asked to report on their perceive d level of voice with male and female classmates, but not close fr iends. Especially given the challenging school environment these students face, close friends ra ther than classmates might have provided a clearer sense of their level of voice with significant others Finally, middle and high school students typically have as many as six different teachers, and they may experience varying levels of voice with each one. The instrument used doe s not allow for students to differentiate among their teachers, which may have reduced their ab ility to describe their perceptions of these relationships accurately. Future Directions The exploration of level of voice among African-Am erican students should continue to be an important topic of discussion given its implications for how students choose to express themselves in various forums. The Civil Rights Movement was undoubtedly influenced by persons who felt the need to express themselves and say what was really on their minds with regard to equal rights for all Americans. Th is same sense of polit ical empowerment was witnessed during the election of President Barack Obama, when young people voiced their dismay over the previous administration while al so voicing their support of a newer face on the political scene. When young people grow up feeli ng that they can express their true opinions, they are more likely to become actively involved in the political pro cess and other important community events where the expression of their voices has an impact on their lived environment. It is important to note that being silent is not always unh ealthy and does not automatically indicate that people are unable to express their voices. Silence a llows people to organize their thoughts and enables them to fully listen to another persons poi nt of view. However, being silent by choice and being silenced by people and societal rules are polar opposites. Harters level of voice instrument was designed to explor e when students perceive themselves as being

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73 silenced by others. Future re search should continue to explore the various reasons why young people remain silent, as well as how they may us e silence as a benefit to maintaining healthy relationships with others. Another interesting dire ction that the explora tion of level of voice and self-construal can assume is in the exploration of cyberspace. Since Gilligans (1982) seminal research study, the life experiences of young people growing up in the ne w millennium is different, given the advent of the internet. This te chnology has offered new opportuni ties for young people to express themselves and has helped to foster their sens e of connectedness to others, extending outside of their communities. However, it is important to note that expressing onese lf online is different than speaking in person, and it is still necessary fo r teens healthy development for them to learn how to be comfortable speaking th eir true opinions at home and at school. In many instances, a computer can act as a mask, and can also foster false self-behavior. The influence of the cultural self in how teacher practices are interpreted is a key component in how a student learns material and inte racts with others. The results from this study indicated that both independent and interdepende nt self-construal was positively correlated with support for voice from teachers. This may indicate that students are inte rpreting their classroom as a welcoming place where they are able to express their true opinions wi thout fear of inhibiting their voices. This may also indicate that teachers are emphasizing both individual and group goals, and that the most vocal students are not the only ones given the op portunity to express themselves. However, given the fact that middl e and high school student s do not receive much one-on-one time with their teachers, the expression of voice at these levels may have more to do with classmates than with th e teacher. Although a teacher may have the best intentions of creating a supportive and inviting environment, its advantages may be lost if a teacher is

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74 confronted with a classroom of st udents who are not connected to the classroom. Future research should seek to further understand the influence of classroom dynamics and how the influence of the classroom environment affects students self-construal an d level of voice. The inclusion of African -American students in the examination of how culture influences the self is an area of dialogue th at should continue to offer new strategies of how to positively impact this population of students in the educational arena. Futu re research should continue to examine the gender and developmenta l variants of level of voice and self-construal, as these two constructs may change or shift as adolescents develop, similar to what occurs with other selfperception concepts. Similarly, it would be intere sting to examine the relationship between these two constructs with other self-perception concepts, such as future time perspective, optimism, motivation, and locus of control for this population.

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75 LIST OF REFERENCES Am erican Association for University Wo mens (AAUW) Report. (1992). How schools shortchange girls. American Association of University Women Educational Foundation. Boekaerts, M. (1998). Do culturall y rooted self-construals affect students conceptualization of control over learning? Educational Psychologist, 33 87-108. Brown, L.M. & Gilligan, C. (1992). Meeting at the crossroads: Womens psychology and girls development Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. California Department of Education (2009). Data Quest. Retrieved May 20, 2009 from http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/ California Department of Education (2009) AYP Reports. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/aypreports.asp Cohen, J.W. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd edition). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Coon, H.M. & Kemmelmeier, M. (2001). Cultural orientations in the United States: (Re) examining differences among ethnic groups. Journal of Cross-Cu ltural Psychology, 32(3) 348-364. Constantine, M.G., Gainor, K. A., Ahluwalia, M.K., & Berkel, L.A. (2003). Independent and interdependent self-construals individualism, collectivism, and harmony control in African Americans. Journal of Black Psychology, 29(1) 87-101. Crawford, Y. (2005). Level of voice among Af rican American urban and rural African American middle school students. Unpublis hed thesis, University of Florida. Cross, S.E., & Madson, L. (1997). Models of the self: Self-constr uals and gender. Psychological Bulletin, 122 5-37. Dobbs, J., Arnold, D.H., & Doctoroff, G.L. (2004). Attention in the pres chool classroom: The relationship among child gender, child misbeh avior, and types of teacher attention. Early Child Development and Care, 174(3) 281-295. DuBois, W.E.B. (1903). The Souls of Black Folk Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Company Franklin, A.J. (1999). Invisibility syndrome and racial identific ation development in counselling African American men. The Counselling Psychologist, 27, 761-793. Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and womens development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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76 Gaines, S.O., Marelich, W.D., Bledsoe, K.L., Steers, W.N., Henderson, M.C., Granrose, C.S., Brajas, L., Hichs, D., Lde, M., Takahashi, Y ., Yum, N., Rios, D.L., Garcia, B.F., Farris, K.R., & Page, M.S. (1997). Links between race /ethnicity and cultural values as mediated by racial/ethnic identity and moderated by gender. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 1460-1476. Groves, P.E. (1996). Coming-of-rage: Young, black, and female in America. In E. Vandergift (Ed.), Mosaics of meaning: Enhancing the intellectual life of young adults through story (pp. 47-66). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. Harter, S. (1999). The construction of the self: A developmental perspective New York: Guilford Press. Harter, S. (1996). Teacher and classmate influences on scholastic motivation, self-esteem, and level of voice in adolescents. In J. Juvonen & K.R. Wentzel (Eds.), Social motivation: Understanding childrens school adjustment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Harter, S., & Waters, P. (1991). Saying What I Think About Others Unpublished manuscript. Denver, CO: University of Denver. Harter, S., Waters, P., & Gonzales, R. (1994). The ability to voice ones opinion among middle school females and males. University of Denver. Unpublished manuscript. Harter, S., Waters, P.L., & Whitesell, N.R. (1997). Lack of voice as a manife station of false selfbehavior among adolescents: The school setting as a stag e upon which the drama of authenticity is enacted. Educational Psychologist, 32(2), 153-173. Harter, S., Waters, P.L., Whitesell, N.R., & Kast elic, D. (1998). Level of voice among female and male high school students: Relational context, support, and gender orientation. Developmental Psychology, 34 892-901 Leone, P.E, Christle, C.A., Nelson, C.M., Skiba, R., Frey, A. & Jolivette, K. (2003). School failure, race, and disability: Promoting positive outcomes, decreasing vulnerability for involvement with the juvenile delinquency system. The National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice. Markus, H.R. & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture a nd the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98 224-253. Markus, H.R. & Kitayama, S. (1994). The cultural construction of self and emotion: Implications for social behavior. In S. Kitayama and H.R. Markus (Eds.), Emotion and culture: Empirical studies of mutual influence (pp. 89-130). Washington, DC: Oakland Unified School District (2007). Expect success: Every student, every classroom, everyday. Annual Report.

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77 Oakland Unified School District (2008). Oakland Unified School Di strict 2007-08 annu al district scorecard. Retrieved April 14, 2009 from http://www.webportal.ousd.k12.ca.us/docs/ DistrictScoreCard.pdf. Oyserm an, D., Coon, H.M., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinki ng individualism and collectivism: Evaluation of theories assumptions and meta analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 128(1) 3-72. Oyserman, D., Gant, L., & Ager, J. (1995). A socially contextualized model of African American identity: Possible se lves and school persistence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(6) 1216-1232. San Francisco Unified School District (2008). Beyond the talk: Taking ac tion to educate every child now. San Francisco Unified School Di strict Strategic Plan 2008-2012. American Psychological Association. Singelis, T.M. (1994). The measurement of independent and interdependent self-construals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(5) 580-591. Singelis, T.M., Bond, M.H., Sharkey, W.F., & Siu Yiu Lau, C. (1999). Unpacking cultures influence on self-esteem and embarrassabil ity. Journal of Cro ss-Cultural Psychology, 30(3), 315-341. Tatum, B.D. (1997). Why are all the Black kids sitting to gether in the cafeteria?: And other conversations about race. New York: Basic Books. Taylor, J.M., Gilligan, C., & Sullivan, A.M. (1995). Between voice and silence: Women and girls, race and relationship. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Tharpe, R.G., Estrada, P., Dalton, S.S., & Yama uchi, L.A. (2000). Activity theory in the classroom. In R.G. Tharpe et al. (Eds.), Teaching transformed: Achieving excellence, fairness, inclusion, and harmony (pp. 43-67). Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Thomas, R.M. (2000). Comparing theories of child development (5th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Triandis, H. (2001). Individualism -collectivism a nd personality. Journal of Personality, 69(6) 907-924. Yeh, C.J. (1999). Invisibility and self-construa l in African American men: Implications for training and practice. The Counselling Psychologist, 27 810-819. Youn, I. (2002). The culture specificity of epistemological beliefs about learning. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 3(1) 87-105. Zaff, J.F., Blount, R.L., Philips, L., & Cohen, L. (2002). The role of ethnic identity and selfconstrual in coping among African American and Caucasian American seventh graders: An exploratory analysis of within-group variance. Adolescence, 37(148) 751-773.

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78 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Yashica is a native of San Fran cisco, California. She receiv ed a BA in political science and BS in psychology, with high honors, from Ho ward University. Yashica completed a MAE and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Florida. Yashica is continuing her research focus of studying risk, resilience, and cultural context as it relates to out-of-school activities. She is Executive Director of Moving Forward Education based in Emeryville, California. Yashica and her husband, Cesnae, have two children, Cesnae Jr. and London, and are currently residing in Vallejo, California.