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Validation of the Perceptions of Racism in Children and Youth (PRaCY) Scale in Pittsburgh: Associations with Sexual Violence Experiences

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Racism is a public health crisis impacting the health and wellbeing of adolescents. Finding valid tools to measure race-based discrimination, a form of racism, is necessary to accurately assess the effectiveness of programs aimed to reduce those experiences.


Our objective was to evaluate measurement invariance of a race-based discrimination scale by gender among a sample of youth (ages 13–19) from historically marginalized groups and to assess associations of race-based discrimination with sexual violence victimization and perpetration.


We used pooled cross-sectional baseline data from two sexual violence prevention programs from 2015 to 2019. Male and female participants were from Manhood 2.0 (a cluster randomized trial) and Sisterhood 2.0 (a quasi-experimental study), respectively. All participants were recruited through community organizations from the same neighborhoods. In this study, we included all non-white youth with completed responses to the 10-item Perceptions of Racism in Children and Youth (PRaCY) Scale. This study was approved by the University of Pittsburgh IRB.


We conducted confirmatory factor analysis (N = 749) and measurement invariance among male-identifying (n = 560) and female-identifying (n = 189) participants resulting in a unidimensional factor structure with weak factorial invariance by gender. Lifetime discriminatory experiences were common among all participants. Mean discrimination scores were associated with a significant increase in the odds of lifetime sexual violence victimization in males (OR = 3.03, 95%CI 1.43–6.42) and females (OR = 10.80, 95% CI 2.23–52.33), respectively.


We confirmed construct validity of the PRaCY Scale among youth experiencing marginalization and found associations between experiences of discrimination and sexual violence victimization in both boys and girls.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available due to the highly sensitive nature of the survey including sexual health, substance use, and violence in minors (with neighborhood level data that may inadvertently identify a participant). These data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


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Funding for the original studies include: (1) Manhood 2.0 – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U01CE002528; PI: Miller) and (2) Sisterhood 2.0 – Department of Human Services (PI: Miller). The research was also supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (T32HD087162) to Ashley Hill and Lynissa Stokes (PI: Miller) and by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (L60 MD015553) to Ashley Hill.

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Authors and Affiliations



ALH and AVH conceptualized and designed the study, ALH analyzed data and ALH, LY and AVH interpreted results. LRS, JP, MT and EM assisted with conceptualization, editing/revising the manuscript and formatting citations. MT and EM provided critical feedback and revisions to the entire manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ashley V. Hill.

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This study was reviewed and approved by the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board. All methods were performed in accordance with Final Rule Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR 46) Protection of Human Subjects in accordance with federal laws governing human subjects research.

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All study participants provided informed consent prior to engaging in the research study.

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Hill, A.L., Stokes, L.R., Pollard, J. et al. Validation of the Perceptions of Racism in Children and Youth (PRaCY) Scale in Pittsburgh: Associations with Sexual Violence Experiences. Child Youth Care Forum (2023).

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