Date of Conferral







Hedy Dexter


Enrollment by African American students in U.S. colleges and universities has increased since 2009, but graduation and retention remains low for this group. Within the African American community, education is considered a central aspect of social empowerment; however, the effect of discrimination, bias, and stereotyping are key when considering achievement indices within a cultural framework. The coping mechanisms that African Americans have developed to combat discrimination, bias, and stereotype threat may contribute to poor performance in college. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between racial socialization and African American students' academic motivation, academic self-efficacy, and likelihood of attending graduate school. Drawing from self-determination theory, it was hypothesized that the variables have a positive relationship. A quantitative survey design was used. One hundred-three African American undergraduate students were recruited via convenience sampling to participate in an online survey. Results from a multiple regression analyses indicated no significant relationship between the variables. The findings from this study are not consistent with previous findings that indicate racial socialization has an impact on African Americans' academic performance and motivations, implying the need for future research to include multiple variables that might impact outcomes such as family functioning, access to educational resources, or peer association. Greater numbers of African Americans enrolled in undergraduate programs may, in turn, increase the pool of participants eligible to attend graduate programs. Future research can help parents, researchers, and practitioners better understand the diverse and unique needs of African American youths.