Study by Drs. Jennifer Greif Green and Elizabeth Bettini Finds Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Educational Placement for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Drs. Jennifer Greif Green and Elizabeth Bettini, BU Wheelock faculty in Special Education, co-authored the recently published article Associations of Sociodemographic Factors and Psychiatric Disorders With Type of School-Based Mental Health Services Received by Youth in the Journal of Adolescent Heath’s most recent publication.

For students who come from traditionally underserved backgrounds, school systems are often the ones who provide all or a majority of their mental health services. And yet, Dr. Green and Dr. Bettini’s study finds that traditionally underserved students, specifically black and Latino students, are more likely than their non-Latino white peers to receive those services in substantially separate classroom and school settings serving students with emotional and behavioral challenges. Further, they find that black and Latino youth were more likely than non-Latino White students to begin receiving mental health services in a substantially separate settings, rather than first receiving school counseling while remaining in general education settings. Study authors highlight an important need for policy and practice interventions focused on ensuring that traditionally minoritized students receive services in the least restrictive setting possible.

This study was conducted in collaboration with other researchers at BU (Dr. Ziming Xuan, from BUSPH and Lana Le Tai) and with faculty at Harvard University (Dr. Katie McLaughlin), Massachusetts General Hospital (Dr. Margarita Alegría), Harvard Medical School (Michael Gruber, Nancy Sampson, Dr. Alan Zaslavsky, Dr. Ronald Kessler), and NYU Langone Health (Dr. Kimberly Hoagwood).

The Journal of Adolescent Health is a highly-ranked multidisciplinary scientific Journal dedicated to improving the health and well-being of adolescents and young adults. The Journal publishes new research findings in the field of Adolescent and Young Adult Health and Medicine.

At BU Wheelock, both Dr. Green and Dr. Bettini are engaged in research focusing on supporting students with emotional/behavioral disorders.