Return to HDC Program

Session 3: 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


Moderated by Dr. Maria McKenna, Associate Professor of the Practice, Department Africana Studies & Education, Schooling, and Society Program


Emily Brigham, University of Notre Dame
Understanding the Cultural Implications of Discrepancy: Evaluating Parent and Teacher Reports of Child Adjustment in the Home and School

Despite the frequent use of parent and teacher reports for the diagnosis and treatment of emotional and behavioral difficulties in children, research investigating multiple informants on reports of child behavior suggests that there are significant discrepancies between parents and teacher reports on socioemotional behavior for a given child. When informants fail to agree on problems, especially when these disagreements regard clinical diagnoses, the efficacy of treatment is hampered (De Los Reyes & Kazdin, 2005). Intending to investigate environmental variables that may contribute to these discrepancies, we hypothesized that gender, SES and child minority status would account for discrepancies in parent and teacher reporting of internalizing and externalizing disorders in cases where ratings in at least one report is above clinical criterion.. Data from a longitudinal research study measuring family characteristics of the span of ten years, with six waves of collection were used for this study, specifically Wave 1 and Wave 5. A sample of 236 families completed self-report measures, and this study uses demographic data, parent-reported measures of child adjustment (CBCL), emotional security (SIMS), family conflict (FES), and a teacher-report measure of child adjustment (TRF). The exploration of environmental variables is relevant to improving multicultural systems of parent-teacher communication, as parents and teachers are key informants about child behavior and adjustment. Exploration of discrepancies and where they occur implicates the specific areas where this improvement is most important, improving diagnosis and treatment of youth mental health difficulties in both the school and the home.

Elsa Barron, University of Notre Dame
Fertile Ground: Sustainability Education as a Restorative Justice Practice

Building on literature that engages environmental education, restorative justice, and environmental justice, we have designed and implemented a sustainability curriculum with a particular focus on access to nature and environmental justice for a cohort of at-risk students in the South Bend community. This curriculum will be implemented at DePaul Academy in South Bend, an organization that serves as an alternative to the traditional juvenile justice system. Our program involved weekly lessons via Zoom, implemented alongside the DePaul Academy science teacher and supplemented with gardening and artistic experiences through in-person faculty facilitation. Our analysis of our work in the classroom builds upon theory that emphasizes the importance of environmental access and education as a component of restorative justice. Students were exposed to ideas around sustainability and environmental justice in the context of their own community backgrounds. Particularly as many of these students hold histories of trauma, an encounter with nature and environmental education holds the potential to provide an experience of restorative justice and healing. This has had a direct impact on the students at DePaul academy and helps to frame a new discussion of sustainability education in at-risk populations. We argue that similar curriculum models can be implemented in a diversity of contexts to engage marginalized students in the active process of building more healthy, just, and sustainable communities for the future.

Sara Ahmed, Wake Forest University
Breaking the Silence: Examining Mental Health Stigma, Literacy, and Access in Rural India

The goal of this project was to examine stigma, mental health literacy, rehabilitation centers, and social attitudes as instrumental factors in accessing mental health care at the community level. Due to a deeply ingrained stigma that has its roots in religion, culture, and colonization as well as a lack of literacy surrounding mental health, the people of Indian society are unable to access resources. In this study, I identified the current understanding of mental health within an urban context, as well as the accessibility and availability of mental health services to the general public. This study was accomplished through attentive observation, semi-structured interviews, and casual conversation. I conducted semi-structured, qualitative interviews with clients, counselors, and caregivers at the Manav Foundation located in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The Manav Foundation is a rehabilitation center that focuses on the reintegration of those living with mental illnesses into mainstream society by using alternative psychosocial interventions. It is the only such center in Mumbai. In addition to the interviews conducted, I used secondary data to describe the conversation already taking place about mental health in India. Through this study, I hoped to come to a better understanding of why stigma exists, and why affordable and accessible mental health care is necessary so that communities all over the world can come together to provide the much needed support to those living with mental illnesses. This study has shown that pervasive socio-cultural factors, especially stigma, inhibits access to basic mental health information and care, despite the knowledge that mental illness is treatable and recognizing its symptoms. The study shows that understanding mental health care, including help-seeking behavior, calls for knowledge-sharing, more accessibility, sensitization and more community engagement.