The Effect of Self-Esteem and Racial Identity Attitudes on Academic Performance Among African-American Male College Students

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1992

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Abstract

United states Department of Education enrollment and graduation data illustrate the status of African-American male college students. Between 1982 and 1984 there was a 5% decline in the enrollment of African-American male college students, while the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded over the past 15 years has decreased by 10%. Research indicates that attitudes, such as self­esteem or racial-identity, predict academic performance among some members of this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship among self-esteem, racial-identity attitudes, and academic performance for African-American male college students. The study tested 4 research hypotheses: 1) Self-esteem and racial-identity attitudes have a positive effect on academic performance among African-American male college students. 2) There is a positive relationship between self-esteem and racial­identity attitudes among African-American male college students. 3) African-American male college students who attend a predominately Black college have higher self- esteem than those who attend a predominately White college. 4) African-American male college students who attend a predominately Black college have higher racial­identity than those who attend a predominately White college. The short forms of the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory and the Helms and Parham Black Racial-Identity Attitude scale were administered to 46 African-American male college students from a predominately Black campus and 66 African-American male college students from a predominately white campus. Regression analyses were used to answer the research hypotheses. There were no significant differences on the independent variables or demographic variables between subjects from the different campuses. Findings from the current study did not provide support for any of the hypotheses tested. Suggestions for future research include the incorporation of lie scales, use of random sampling, and designs which investigate both individual and environmental influences on academic performance among African-American male college students.

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