The Roles of Race and Behavior as Determinants of Punishment versus Diagnosis of Childhood Behavior Problems
David Ramey, Ohio State University
For some time, scholars have documented racial disparities in both school punishment, school suspensions and expulsions, and the medical diagnosis and treatment of behavioral problems in children and adolescents. Until recently, however, these findings were relegated to separate literatures and isolated from one another. Thus, despite shared theoretical and conceptual histories, investigation of these trends has typically been relegated to separate literatures. This project takes a step toward bridging this gap by considering punishment and treatment as alternative responses to similar childhood behavioral problems. I use data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Child Survey (NLSY-C) and logistic growth-curve models to present evidence that White children with antisocial and oppositional behavior problems are more likely to be treated with therapy or psychotropic medication than African-American children while African-American children with similar behavioral problems are more likely to receive school suspensions or expulsions than White children.