• Presentation

Race Identification Across Multiple Respondent Types


Smith, K. R., Stambaugh, L. F., Morgan, K. C., & Ringeisen, H. (2008, May). Race Identification Across Multiple Respondent Types. Presented at AAPOR 2008, New Orleans, LA.


This paper will examine discrepancies in reported race identification by multiple respondents within the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW). This topic is of critical importance because race is commonly included as a predictor variable in published NSCAW analyses. For example, some studies have shown that child’s race predicts aspects of mental health service use (McCrae, Chapman & Price, 2006) while others have not (Barth et al, 2007; James et al, 2006). The degree to which these findings are valid and reliable is largely dependent upon the reliability of race reports.NSCAW is the first nationally representative longitudinal study of children and families involved in the child welfare system and the first to collect data directly from children and caregivers. The study has produced four waves of data collected from over 6,200 children and their caregivers, caseworkers, and teachers. Begun in October 1999, the sample was drawn from children who were reported to the child welfare system as being maltreated. The NSCAW study design is noteworthy in that many items, including race, were administered to three different respondents: children, their caregivers, and caseworkers. This paper will examine the degree to which these three NSCAW respondents disagreed on the sampled child’s race. It will also describe the racial categories that exhibit the greatest levels of disagreement. Preliminary analyses of NSCAW data showed considerable disagreement in race identification, especially between caseworkers and caregivers and between caseworkers and children. A particularly high level of disagreement was found among children identified as Native American. Although the results cannot address accuracy of race reporting, key disagreements that have policy implications will be discussed. Finally, the paper will examine explanatory factors that may be contributing to disagreement.