The College of Education announces the final Dissertation of
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
June 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm in 103 Ball Hall
Major Advisor: Douglas Strohmer, PhD
Exploring the Relationship Between Stereotype Threat, Racial Centrality, Grit, and Academic Achievement and Retention in African American Male First Generation College Students
ABSTRACT: The educational gap for African American males has been widely researched prior to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Many of these male college students have suffered at the hands of stereotype threat: a self-evaluative risk, influenced by widely held prejudices of the dominant or majority cultural group that have deleterious effects. Although stereotype threat has been widely researched, few studies have examined positive factors that have the potential to buffer the relationship that exists between stereotype threat and achievement. This study explored the relationship between dimensions of stereotype threat, racial centrality, grit, and both academic achievement and retention in 127 African American male first generation college students. Specifically, racial centrality and grit were hypothesized to separately buffer the relationship between stereotype threat and both academic achievement and retention. Analysis revealed racial centrality significantly moderated the relationship between one dimension of stereotype threat (internalization) and retention: At higher levels of racial centrality, the inverse relationship between internalization and retention was weakened and indeed reversed such that higher racial centrality was associated with greater retention. Contrary to hypotheses, grit did not buffer the relationship between the two dimensions of stereotype threat within the study (internalization and academic effort) and academic achievement or retention. However, in hierarchical multiple regression, the block containing racial centrality and grit accounted for 8.5% of the variance in academic achievement; only grit was significant, with more grit predicting higher GPA. The full multiple regression analysis accounted for 35.5% of the variance in academic achievement.