Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 08/31/2020

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Counseling, Rehabilitation and Student Development

First Advisor

Wood, Susannah M

Second Advisor

Liu, William M

First Committee Member

Duys, David K

Second Committee Member

Sanchez, Jennifer

Third Committee Member

Wadsworth, John S


The literature on the career development of First-Generation College Students of Color (FGCSC) lacks a focus on the career decision-making difficulties consequently from racial microaggressions, academic self-efficacy, academic stress, and mental well-being at PWIs. Furthermore, there is a lack of empirical studies related to FGCSC help-seeking behaviors for racial microaggressions and the utilization of university counseling and career services on these campuses. The following research questions guided this study: a) What is the relationship between help-seeking attitudes and behaviors and racial microaggressions, academic self-efficacy, academic stress, mental well-being, and career decision-making difficulties among first-generation college students of Color (FGCSC) attending PWIs? b) Can the help-seeking behaviors of (FGCSC) attending PWIs be predicted by age, gender, ethnicity, racial microaggressions, academic self-efficacy and stress, mental well-being, and career decision-making difficulties?

FGCSC present distinct personal, social, emotional, academic, and cultural needs. The growth in racial microaggressions and racial insults manifested within PWIs requires an examination into how services are tailored within university counseling and career advising centers to meet these needs. Racial microaggressions can result in stress that negatively influences both mental well-being and career decision making. Thus, career and personal counseling services provided on college campuses should be able to help students combat and cope with these stressors. In addition, these services should provide culturally-informed counseling interventions to help FGCSC determine how skills, values, and interests align with a future job that fits their personality and cultural background.

A need for more literature that examines the relationship between these variables will assist university counselors and career centers within predominantly White institutions with interventions for this special group of students. The stressors related to racial microaggressions may result in career decision-making difficulties that contribute to low self-efficacy that increase low retention rates and lack of matriculation. A better understanding of the relationships between racial microaggressions, mental well-being and career decision making can result in the tailoring of counseling and advising services on PWIs. Practitioners employed in counseling centers, advising offices, and career services must have a working knowledge of FGCSC experiences with racial microaggressions at the societal, institutional, interpersonal, and individual levels to deliver effective services.


Career Decision-making, First-generation, Help-seeking Behaviors, Racial Microaggressions, student of Color


xi, 146 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 118-146).


Copyright © 2018 Jonique R. Childs

Available for download on Monday, August 31, 2020