African American Children and Mental Health
by Nancy E. Hill, Tammy L. Mann, Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Editors
July 2011, 498pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38302-1
$121, £94, 106€, A166
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38303-8
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

African American children are at the highest risk for becoming school dropouts, for academic disengagement and failure, and for under- or unemployment. The fundamental issue facing their mental health is educational readiness and academic adjustment, but they also face a higher incidence of health problems including hypertension, and one in three African American children lives in poverty.

This groundbreaking two-volume set examines the psychological, social, physical, and environmental factors that undermine or support healthy development in African American children while considering economic, historical, and public policies.

How does one go about shifting the psychology of a people whose sense of worth, purpose, and potential have been denigrated and disenfranchised for decades? What specific factors conspire to douse African American children’s dreams before they reach adolescence? And what can we learn from African American families determined to help their children beat the odds and succeed?

This unique two-volume set examines the forces affecting psychological development and achievement motivation in African American children today. These books address the current political, global, economic, and social contexts as they impact African American families and tackle the tough issues of genes, environment, and race. Experts from leading universities, research institutes, federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations discuss factors such as parenting beliefs and practices, peer influences, school and community environments, racial profiling, race and ethnicity, spirituality, and immigrant status.


  • Includes history, current events, psychology, politics, public policy, sociology, economics, and more
  • Details intervention programs that target parents and children in low-income African American families; strategies to support young African American male relationship development, motivation, and achievement; and programs aiming to increase literacy and decrease obesity
  • Examines the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on African American children
  • Includes both a subject and author index to facilitate further research
Nancy E. Hill, PhD, is a developmental psychologist and professor at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; and Suzanne Young Murray Professor at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Her research focuses on cultural, economic, and community influences on family socialization patterns as they shape child and adolescent development. Her published works include articles in top scientific journals such as Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Journal of Educational Psychology. Hill was editor of African American Family Life: Ecological and Cultural Diversity and Families, Schools, and the Adolescent: Connecting Research, Policy, and Practice. She is currently on the governing council of the Society for Research in Child Development, and served on the Committee on Children, Youth, and Families of the American Psychological Association from 2003 to 2006.

Tammy L. Mann, PhD, is executive director of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at United Negro College Fund which focuses on examining barriers and facilitators of educational attainment for African Americans and other underrepresented minorities across the P-16 education pipeline. She is a former adjunct faculty member in the department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies at Howard University, Washington, DC, and a public policy fellow at the American Psychological Association. For nearly 20 years, Mann's work as a clinical psychologist has focused on translating research into practice and policy to benefit the health and well-being of low-income children and their families. Her published works include a variety of journal articles and book chapters.

Hiram E. Fitzgerald is series editor for the Praeger series, Child Psychology and Mental Health. He is associate provost for university outreach and engagement, University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; and adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. From 1992–2008, Fitzgerald served as executive director of the World Association for Infant Mental Health. He has published over 450 scholarly works, including 60 books. Fitzgerald has received the Selma Fraiberg Award, the WAIMH Award, and the Dolley Madison Award for his work involving families with very young children.


"In summary, African American Children and Mental Health is a welcome contribution to the literature in psychology, and it offers a balanced examination split into areas of progress and areas in need of improvement. Compared with other books, this book identifies unique mental health issues in today’s African American youths within a multisystems approach, and it cites a number of factors ranging from the individual (i.e., genetics, race), to the social (i.e., family, education, peers, religion), and to the cultural–historical (i.e., oppression, racial profiling, economic stratification). Scholars and students across a variety of disciplines will appreciate the book for its distinctive integration of theory, research, social policy, and practice."—PsycCRITIQUES, May 9, 2012
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