Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Douglas C. Strohmer

Committee Member

Sha'Kema Blackmon

Committee Member

Kimberly Williams-Collins

Committee Member

Brian Wright


The educational and achievement gap for African American males has been widely researched and discussed 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 majority cultural group that have deleterious effects. Although stereotype threat, along with other variables relevant to achievement, have been widely researched, few studies have examined positive factors that have the potential to buffer the relationship that exists between stereotype threat and academic achievement. This study explored the relationship between dimensions of stereotype threat, racial centrality, grit, and both academic achievement in- and retention of 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. Limitations of the study, implications, and future research and clinical directions are provided.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.