Students’ and Caregivers’ Attitudes and Preferences Toward Screening for Negative Social Determinants of Health in a Predominantly Latinx High School

Sokol, R., Clift, J., Mitchell, L., Martinez, J. J., & Rusnak, C. (2023). Students’ and caregivers’ attitudes and preferences toward screening for negative social determinants of health in a predominantly Latinx high school. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.


Objective: Social risk factors—the adverse social conditions associated with poor health—disproportionately burden Latinx adolescents. Screening youth for social risk factors andproviding resources to help address needs is a widespread practice across healthcare. Schools,however, may be an ideal environment for universal social risk factor screening, especially forLatinx adolescents. The present research sought to assess Latinx students’ and caregivers’attitudes towards, preferences for, and perceived benefits of and concerns with school-basedsocial risk factor screening. Method: Data for this mixed-methods study came from a cross-sectional survey of students (N=539) and their caregivers (N=105) from a predominantly Latinxhigh school in Detroit, Michigan in Fall 2021. Results: Sixty-five percent of students and 78% ofcaregivers reported liking the idea of school-based social risk factor screening somewhat, quite abit, or very much. Attitudes towards screening were not associated with the number of social riskfactors reported among students (ρ=0.005, p=0.91) or caregivers (ρ=0.06, p=0.58). Perceivedbenefits included identifying students’ needs, fostering a caring school environment, andproviding social and emotional support. Perceived concerns included invading privacy, causingembarrassment, taking time, and being a potential wasted effort. The preferred screeningfrequency among students and caregivers was once a month (41% and 53%, respectively), andthe preferred format was online, completed at home. Conclusions: School-based social riskfactor screening is a favorable practice for this urban, predominantly Latinx high school. Futuresocial risk factor screening system developers and implementers—particularly within schools—should consider the screening benefits and concerns students and caregivers identified.Keywords: social risk factors, school, adolescence, Latinx, screeninThis is the author’s accepted manuscript without copyediting, formatting, or final corrections. It will be published in its final form in an upcoming issue of theJournal of the Society for Social Work and Research, published by The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Society for Social Work and Research.Include the DOI when citing or quoting: Copyright 2023 Society for Social Work and Research.