School connectedness – the degree to which students feel part of their school community – influences more than grades. For Black students, it’s a protective factor against depression and aggressive behavior later in life, according to a Rutgers University-New Brunswick study. “Our data provide fairly strong evidence for the idea that the experiences Black adolescents have in their school impacts their long-term mental health,” said Adrian Gale, an assistant professor in the Rutgers School of Social Work, and lead author of the study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Researchers have long understood the benefits of school connectedness for youth well-being and physical health outcomes. But most research into the topic has been focused on White adolescents, with limited research exploring the relationship among Black youth, Gale said. To read the full story.