Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

David A. Jepsen


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived consequences of racism experiences on adult development and overall well-being of highly educated African American males. There were three objectives: to describe African American male responses to experienced racism in four social contexts: on the job, in academia, in the public realm, and statements in the media; to describe African American male social support networks for dealing with racism and to describe their level of satisfaction with those social support network; and to examine the relationship between racism experiences and other variables with two measures of psychological well-being, neuroticism and extraversion.

The data used to address the study objectives were derived from a unique sample of responses to questionnaires submitted by 130 African American male college graduates. These men are very extraverted and score within average range on the neuroticism scales.

The participants perceived frequent incidences of racism in all four social contexts: on the job, in academic settings, in the public realm, and racist statements in the media. At all developmental levels, the respondents' acknowledged that incidences of racism experiences had occurred in both the "previous year" and "throughout their lifetime. The African American men are acknowledging performing additional tasks during their development that was heretofore never mentioned in developmental theory.

The African American male college graduates were very satisfied with the African American supporters European Americans who were a part of their social support network.

Results of several regression analyses that entered all independent variables, found that only two variables showed a small but significant negative predictor value for neuroticism. Results of analyses that entered variables for predicting extraversion found that the total number of African American supporters was a small but positive predictor.

These graduates provided evidence that they are constantly aware and vigilant about circumstances in American society. They experienced incidences of racism across social contexts and have devised ways to cope, yet they are always looking at themselves through the eyes of others and the negative influences of the ensuing feelings of isolation, hurt and frustration threaten to diminish their sense of well-being.


African American Male Development, Adult Development Theory, Human Development, Ethnicity and Development


2, xii, 270 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 198-212).


Copyright 2003 Joseph Von Dumonté Donaldson II

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