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Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 2007, Vol. 13, No.

3, 207215

Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association 1099-9809/07/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1099-9809.13.3.207


Racial Socialization, Racial Identity, and Black Students Adjustment to College

Deidre M. Anglin
Columbia University

Jay C. Wade
Fordham University

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of racial socialization and racial identity on adjustment in Black college students. Self-report questionnaires were administered to 141 Black college students from a predominantly White university and racially diverse college. The findings suggest that racial socialization positively contributes to academic adjustment. An internalized-multicultural identity positively contributed to overall college adjustment, and pre-encounter miseducated racial identity negatively contributed. Internalized Afrocentric racial identity was negatively related to overall college adjustment. Implications for multicultural social scientists and directions for future research are discussed. Keywords: racial identity, racial socialization, college adjustment, Cross Racial Identity Scale, Blacks

Minority enrollment in higher education has increased significantly over the past two decades (Office of Minorities in Higher Education American Council on Education, 20012002). However, despite these gains, African Americans still remain less likely to complete college than European Americans. According to the 20022003 Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) Report for 19952001, the 6-year graduation rate for European Americans was 57%, and the rate for African Americans was 38%. Thus, there is still a significant proportion of African Americans who are not graduating once enrolled. What factors are related to whether African American students experience healthy adjustment in college? Over the past few decades, racial variables (e.g., racial identity) have been assessed within African American college populations as predictors of different areas of psychosocial functioning. An examination of social and identity processes specifically relevant to African Americans may lead to a better understanding of which culturally specific factors relate to better adjustment in college. The current study sought to empirically examine if racial socialization and racial identity explain healthy college adjustment among Black college students.

Racial Socialization Theory

Racial socialization is a concept proposed as the process by which Black individuals develop a healthy Black racial identity (Stevenson, 1995). In general, the most influential and primary socializing agent is considered to be the family (Greene, 1990). Socialization specific to race describes a specific aspect of social-

Deidre M. Anglin, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University; Jay C. Wade, Department of Psychiatry, Fordham University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Deidre M. Anglin, PhD, Columbia University, Department of Epidemiology of Mental Disorders, 100 Haven Avenue, Tower 3, Room 31F, New York, NY 10032. E-mail: 207

ization that is a process of communicating messages to children to bolster their sense of racial identity given the possibility and reality that their life experiences may include racially hostile encounters (Stevenson, 1995). Consequently, this process is proposed to also serve as a buffer against racist environments and has been discussed by several scholars in the literature (e.g., Bowman & Howard, 1985; Greene, 1990; Spencer, 1983; Stevenson, 1995; Thornton, Chatters, Taylor, & Allen, 1990). Boykin and Toms (1985) surveyed the literature on racial socialization. They identified three areas of socialization to which African American families find themselves responding: (1) socializing children according to mainstream societal values, (2) socializing within a Black cultural context that is separate from the mainstream, and (3) socializing children with an understanding that there is a reality to the oppression of minority status individuals in American society. Research has found that African American men and women who reported receiving preparation for racism as children felt it was beneficial to their development and sense of identity (Demo & Hughes, 1990; Edwards & Polite, 1992). Stevenson, Cameron, and Herrero-Taylor (1998) developed a measure of racial socialization, the Teenager Experience of Racial Socialization (TERS), which asks respondents to rate the frequency to which they have heard their parents or caregivers relay racial socialization messages. Stevenson and colleagues conceptualized two core underlying dimensions to racial socialization messages: (1) proactive racial socialization messages, which promote a sense of cultural empowerment and pride, and (2) protective racial socialization messages, which promote an awareness of societal oppression. Both dimensions combined define overall racial socialization. Theoretically, racial socialization serves as a buffer against potentially racist encounters. Fisher and Shaw (1999) addressed this in their sample of college students and found that being racially socialized about the struggles of racism served as a buffer against perceptions of discrimination, more than simply



having high self-esteem. Students high in self-esteem and low in racial socialization were more likely to be negatively impacted by perceptions of racist discrimination. Racial socialization has also been examined among Black families in relation to ethnic group attachment (Demo & Hughes, 1990) and aspects of racial identity (Sanders-Thompson, 1994). In general this research suggests being racially socialized by caregivers in childhood increases ethnic group attachment and racial identification in adulthood. The literature also suggests that racial socialization is related to better self-esteem and psychological adjustment in adolescent populations. For example, Stevenson, Reed, Bodison, and Bishop (1997) found that girls who endorsed both proactive and protective elements of racial socialization exhibited better self-esteem and decreased levels of sad mood and instrumental helplessness. For boys, racial socialization that focused on cultural pride was strongly related to positive anger expression. These results suggest racial socialization is important for psychological adjustment; however, more research is needed in college populations.

Black Racial Identity Theory

Racial identity has been one of the most widely studied racial concepts in the multicultural and counseling psychology literature, and it concerns the importance a particular individual places on his or her racial heritage and the degree to which they perceive themselves to be a part of their racial group (Helms, 1990). One of the more prominent racial identity models has been William Crosss (1971, 1991) theory of Nigrescence. Crosss (1971) original model of Nigrescence described a stage model in which Blacks experience a negative to positive change in Black selfconcept through five developmental stages (i.e., pre-encounter, encounter, immersion-emersion, internalization, and internalization-commitment). The original Nigrescence model was adapted by Cross (1991) and Cross, Parham, and Helms (1991) to allow more flexibility and variability in attitudes within and across the stages. They indicated that multiple attitudes exist within all the stages, except the encounter stage, and that the strength of each type of racial identity attitude can vary across individuals. For example, in the preencounter stage, individuals can hold attitudes toward race that range from low Black salience, to race neutrality, to anti-Black attitudes. The encounter stage describes a process in which the individual begins to reexamine this one-sided worldview and gain awareness about what being Black means. The search associated with the encounter stage leads to the next stage of immersionemersion, in which the individual immerses him or herself into Black culture, while rejecting anything non-Black or White. During the internalization stage, the individual starts to resolve conflicts between the generally old anti-Black and pro-White worldview, and the new pro-Black and anti-White worldview. Cross et al. noted that there is diversity within ideological perspectives of individuals in this internalization stage. Some individuals may become very active in Black nationalist movements, where the primary and sole focus is on Black liberation (nationalist), while others become more active in multicultural movements, in which their concern for Blackness is one domain of reference among many (multiculturalist). Still, others may place equal emphasis on their Americanness as on their Blackness (biculturalist).

Most of the research on racial identity has used the Racial Identity Attitude Scale (RIAS; Parham & Helms, 1981); however, the psychometric properties of the RIAS have been criticized in the literature for its low reliability and construct validity (Ponterotto & Wise, 1987). Vandiver et al. (2000) have developed a measure of Black racial identity that attempts to address the psychometric limitations in the RIAS and better represent the modifications since Crosss original theory. With the exception of the encounter stage, the Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS; Vandiver et al., 2000) is based on the same four stages proposed in the revised (1991) model (i.e., pre-encounter, encounter, immersion-emersion, and internalization); however, the authors specified the distinctions and variability within the stages more accurately and definitively. The CRIS measures six racial identity typologies instead of stages. Three pre-encounter identity typologies are specified as (1) assimilation, (2) miseducation, and (3) self-hatred. Individuals with an assimilation typology deemphasize their Blackness and emphasize their American identity. Individuals with a miseducated typology endorse the negative stereotypes about Black people and distance themselves from a Black identity. Individuals with a self-hatred typology idealize Whites and devalue Blacks. This delineation objectifies the diversity of attitudes found within the pre-encounter identity. The immersion-emersion typology still remains as one attitude theme: anti-White. The last two typologies of the CRIS represent specific internalization identities: (1) Afrocentricity and (2) multiculturalist-inclusive. Individuals with an Afrocentric typology emphasize the importance of taking an Afrocentric perspective in most aspects of life. Individuals with a multiculturalist-inclusive typology believe other identities (e.g., Jews, gays) are just as important as a Black identity. This latest revision to Crosss model of racial identity has some similarities to Sellers, Rowley, Chavous, Shelton, and Smiths (1998) Multidimensional Model of Racial Identity (MMRI), another widely used model of racial identity. This multidimensional model of racial identity is based on three stable dimensions: racial centrality, racial regard, and racial ideology. Like Vandiver et al. (2000), Sellers et al.s model specifies types of racial ideologies. Sellers and colleagues identified four racial ideologies: (1) the nationalist ideology emphasizes the importance of being Africandescended; (2) the oppressed minority ideology emphasizes the commonalties of oppressed groups in American society; (3) the assimilationist ideology emphasizes the commonalties between African Americans and American society; and (4) the humanist ideology emphasizes the commonalties of all humans. Unlike Vandiver et al.s new model, Sellers and colleagues model note that the manifestation of any particular racial ideology may differ depending on the other two dimensions noted in the model, that is, racial centrality and regard. Even though the latest revision of the Cross model does not purport a stage model of development, there seems to be an underlying assumption that the two typologies among the internalized identities are more adaptive and healthier than the three typologies among the pre-encounter identity and immersionemersion identity. Empirical research using African American college samples, mainly using the RIAS, supports that assumption. Research using the RIAS has found that internalized racial identity is related to positive self-esteem (Munford, 1994; Phelps, Taylor, & Gerard, 2001), unconditional positive self-regard (Speight,



Vera, & Derrickson, 1996), and not having depressive symptoms (Munford, 1994). Pre-encounter racial identity has been found to be related to a lack of self-actualization and self-acceptance (Parham & Helms, 1985a) and a lack of unconditional positive self-regard (Speight, Vera, & Derrickson, 1996). Pre-encounter has also been found to be related to depressive symptomatology (Carter, 1991; Munford, 1994), feelings of inferiority, personal inadequacy, hypersensitivity, and anxiety (Parham & Helms, 1985b), and immature psychological defensive style (Nghe & Mahalik, 2001). Given these findings, it would be expected that college students whose attitudes are consistent with pre-encounter identity may have more difficulty adjusting to college, whereas students with internalized racial identity would be expected to have better college adjustment.

college adjustment in Black students? It was hypothesized that racial socialization and internalized racial identities would positively predict overall college adjustment, and that pre-encounter racial identities and immersion-emersion racial identity would negatively predict overall college adjustment. Further, given the findings of Sellers et al. (1998) that highlight the relevance of racial identity on academic adjustment, it was specifically hypothesized that racial socialization and internalized racial identities would positively predict academic adjustment, and pre-encounter and immersion-emersion racial identities would negatively predict academic adjustment.

Method Participants

College Adjustment of African Americans

Research on college adjustment in African Americans has increased over the years in part to help explain the statistics on enrollment and completion of college. College adjustment encompasses different domains of functioning, including academic, social, and emotional adjustment. Schwitzer, Griffin, Ancis, and Thomas (1999) and Alford (2000) have suggested that African American college students deal with issues outside of academics that impact their overall adjustment in college. For example, African American students are more likely than European American students to perceive discrimination on campus and report experiencing prejudice from university faculty and staff, and have more negative academic in-class experiences than European Americans (Nora & Cabrera, 1996). However, those individuals who receive parental support and encouragement tend to have more positive academic experiences (Nora & Cabrera, 1996). Research has examined factors that positively and negatively impact African American students adjustment to college. For example, having an internal locus of control and adequate access to social support positively impact adjustment (Zea, Jarama, & Bianchi, 1995). Dealing with financial strains (Fleming, 1984) and inferior academic preparedness (Nora & Cabrera, 1996) negatively impact adjustment. Very few studies have examined the role of racial factors in African American students adjustment to college. In a study by Sellers, Chavous, and Cooke (1998), racial identity was related to academic performance using GPA as an indicator. Their findings suggested that when African Americans strongly identify with Black people, focusing on the commonalties of oppressed groups in American society was positively associated with GPA. Having a nationalist ideology, which focuses on the importance of being African-descended, or having an assimilationist ideology, which focuses on the commonalties between African Americans and the rest of American society, was negatively associated with academic performance. Their findings also suggested that racial belief systems (ideologies) may be less important for students who deemphasize the importance of their race. These results suggest that for African American students, racial factors may be particularly important for academic adjustment. The present study was designed to increase the understanding of adjustment in college by examining the effects of racial socialization and racial identity. Thus, the main research question was: What impact does racial socialization and racial identity have on

The sample obtained for the present study represents a convenience sample of 141 participants obtained from one university (83) and one college (58) in the Northeast United States. The university was a predominantly White private institution, and the college was a racially diverse public institution with a significant proportion of Black students. Sociodemographic data is presented for the two samples in Table 1. About 60% (83) of the participants were from the predominantly White university and about 40% (58) were from the racially diverse college. The vast majority of the entire student sample were undergraduate freshman and sophomores (66%), with fewer juniors and seniors (23%), and only 6% graduate students. The remaining 5% of the entire sample did not indicate their class status. Thirty-nine percent (55) of the participants were male and 61% (86) were female. Participants ranged in

Table 1 Sociodemographic and College Adjustment Frequencies and Means by School Sample
Variables Gender Male Female Self-identified ethnicity Black African American West-Indian African Biracial Black Hispanic and other Racial community Mostly Black Mixed Mostly White Mean (SD) GPA Mean age (in years) Mean SESa Mean overall college adjustment Mean academic adjustment Predominantly White (n 83) 27 56 10 30 23 9 7 4 41 27 15 2.97 (.45) 21.10 (5.66) 2.92 (.78) 390.07 (62.61) 138.04 (25.59) Racially diverse (n 58) 28 30 7 9 24 11 1 5 40 17 0 2.91 (.43) 20.17 (1.85) 2.52 (.71) 372.50 (63.01) 136.95 (25.63)

Note. N 141. a Socioeconomic status (SES) was coded on the following scale: 1 ( poor), 2 (working class), 3 (middle class), 4 (upper middle class), 5 (upper class). * p .05. ** p .01.



age from 17 to 54 years (M 20.6, SD 3.9), with 85% of the participants between the ages of 18 and 22. Ethnically, 12.1% of the participants self-identified as Black, 27.7% as African American, 33.3% as West-Indian/Caribbean, 14.2% as African, 5.7% as Biracial, 5.4% as Black Hispanic, and 1.6% as Other. With regard to socioeconomic status (SES) background, most identified as working class (33.3%) or middle class (46.1%). Four percent identified as poor, 15% as upper-middle class, 1% as upper class, and 2 participants did not identify class status. The majority of the students came from communities composed mostly of other Blacks (59%). Thirty-one percent of the participants came from racially mixed communities and 10% came from mostly White communities. The mean GPA of the participants was 3.0.

Teenager Experience of Racial Socialization. The Teenager Experience of Racial Socialization Scale (TERS; Stevenson et al., 1998) is a 40-item self-report paper and pencil measure in which respondents are asked to rate the frequency with which their parents or caregivers express or communicate messages regarding racial or cultural pride, racial struggle, cultural survival, and spiritual and religious coping. The item responses are scaled on a 3-point Likert scale format (e.g., never, a few times, and lots of times). Higher scores on the scale represent more racial socialization experiences. The TERS provides a total global racial socialization experiences score which has a range from 40 120, and four subscale scores (i.e., Cultural Survival, Racism Struggles, Pride Development, and Spiritual Coping) that represent different areas of racial socialization. Cultural Survival Socialization addresses messages about the importance of struggling through racial hostilities and the maintenance of African American cultural heritage (e.g., Teaching children about Black history will help them to survive a hostile world). Racism Struggles Socialization addresses the barriers of racism that exist for Black people (e.g., A Black child has to work twice as hard in order to get ahead in this world). Pride Development Socialization addresses messages that endorse teaching pride and knowledge of African American culture (e.g., Be proud of who you are). Lastly, Spiritual Coping Socialization addresses the role of spirituality and religious involvement in coping with racial struggles (e.g., A belief in God can help a person deal with tough life struggles). Higher scores represent more racial socialization experiences within that particular domain. Although this instrument was developed on adolescents, support for the construct validity of the measure has been found in college samples (e.g., Fisher & Shaw, 1999; Thompson, Anderson, & Bakeman, 2000) The internal consistency reliabilities obtained from the present study were as follows: total TERS .88, Spiritual Coping Socialization .82, Racism Struggles Socialization .79, Pride Development Socialization .76, and Cultural Survival Socialization .52. With the exception of the Cultural Survival subscale, the reliability estimates in the present study are slightly higher than those found in previous studies (Stevenson et al., 1998). The total TERS score was used for analyses in the present study. Cross Racial Identity Scale. The Cross Racial Identity Scale (CRIS; Vandiver et al., 2000) is a 40-item self-report, paper and pencil questionnaire designed to assess Black racial identity atti-

tudes based on Crosss revised Nigrescence model (1991). The CRIS was developed on about 1000 students from two different universities over a period of five years. The CRIS asks respondents to indicate the extent to which they agree with item statements on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). Total scores are produced for each of the racial identity typologies with a range of 535, and high scores reflect having attitudes that are consistent with the particular racial identity typology. The CRIS has 6 subscales that represent six racial identities. There are three types of pre-encounter racial identities (Assimilation, Miseducation, and Self-Hatred), one type of immersion-emersion racial identity (Anti-White), and two types of internalization racial identities (Afrocentricity and Multiculturalist Inclusive). Each of the 6 subscales consists of 5 items and there are 10 additional items included as fillers. Sample items and their respective domains include: I am not so much a member of a racial group, as I am an American (Pre-encounter-Assimilation); Blacks place more emphasis on having a good time than on hard work (Pre-encounterMiseducation); I go through periods when I am down on myself because I am Black (Pre-encounterSelfHatred); I have a strong feeling of hatred and disdain for all White people (Immersion-EmersionAnti-White); I see and think about things from an Afrocentric perspective (Internalization Afrocentricity); As a multiculturalist, I am connected to many groups (Hispanics, Asian Americans, Whites, Jews, gays and lesbians, etc.) (InternalizationMulticulturalist Inclusive). Preliminary support for the construct validity and factor structure of the CRIS has been found (e.g., Vandiver et al., 2000; Worrell, Vandiver, Cross, & Fhagen-Smith, 2004). The internal consistency reliabilities found in the present study were as follows: Pre-EncounterAssimilation .81, Pre-EncounterMiseducation .79, Pre-EncounterSelf-Hatred .78, Immersion Emersion .85, InternalizationAfrocentricity .85, and InternalizationMulticulturalist Inclusive .73. The reliability estimates in the present study are slightly lower to those found in previous studies (e.g., Vandiver et al., 2000). The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire. The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ; Baker & Siryk, 1984) is a 52-item self-report paper and pencil questionnaire designed to comprehensively measure college adjustment. The SACQ consists of the following four subscales: Academic Adjustment, Social Adjustment, Personal/Emotional Adjustment, and General Institutional Attachment. Respondents are asked to assess how well they are dealing with a particular aspect of adjustment. Each of the 52 items is rated on a continuum ranging from 1 (applies very closely to me) to 9 (doesnt apply to me at all). An intricate scoring system using a bubble sheet that includes weighted items and reverse scoring is used to sum the item values of the scale (See Baker & Siryk, 1999, for details). The sum of the scores on all 52 items yield an overall measure of adjustment with a range of 67 603, and the sum of the scores on the subscales yield four separate measures of the various aspects of adjustment. High values indicate better levels of adjustment to college. Eighteen of the scale items constitute the Academic Adjustment subscale with a total score range of 24 216. Respondents are asked to rate their attitude toward their academic requirements, how well they are applying themselves, the effectiveness of their academic efforts, and how satisfied they are with their academic environment. Fourteen of the scale items constitute the Social



Adjustment subscale, which refer to general aspects of social functioning, interpersonal relationships, satisfaction with the social environment, and being in a new environment. Ten of the scale items constitute the Personal-Emotional subscale, which asks respondents to rate how they feel psychologically and physically. The last 10 items comprise the General Institutional Attachment subscale. These items address the general demands of transitioning to college. Extensive support for the construct and structural validity and reliability of the SACQ has been found in previous studies (See Baker & Siryk, 1999, for detailed review). The Overall College Adjustment scale and Academic Adjustment subscale were used for analyses in the present study. The internal consistency reliabilities for the SACQ for the present study were as follows: Total college adjustment score .92, General Institutional Attachment .81, Personal-Emotional Adjustment .75, Social Adjustment .83, and Academic Adjustment .82. Demographic questionnaire. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire that was part of the Cross Racial Identity Scale. This section contains questions on demographic information including, gender, age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, and racial composition of community of origin. In addition, participants indicated their GPA.

credit for their participation in the study. Completion of the questionnaires generally took between 50 and 90 minutes. Upon completion of the packet of questionnaires, the participants were thanked for their participation and were given a debriefing form, which outlined the purpose of the study in more detail. They were encouraged to contact the principal investigator via email if they had any further questions or concerns.

Results Descriptive Statistics

In general, the participants in the sample tended to report being racially socialized by caregivers or parents M 93.54 (12.10) and tended to strongly endorse multicultural racial identity M 28.16 (4.63). Most of the sample moderately endorsed assimilation M 14.48 (6.34), Miseducation M 16.77 (6.27), and Afrocentric racial identities M 17.14 (6.05). Most of the sample did not strongly endorse self-hatred M 10.53 (5.52) and immersion racial identities M 8.59 (4.77). According to norms collected by Baker and Siyrk (1999), the present samples mean overall college adjustment score, M 382.84 (63.15), was slightly lower than the average of the mean adjustment scores found among college samples used in their previous normative studies (27th percentile). The frequencies, means, and standard deviations for sociodemographic and dependent variables are presented in Table 1 by school sample. Differences between the two college samples were examined using univariate analyses of variance (ANOVA) for continuous variables and chi-square analyses for nominal variables. There were no significant differences between students from the predominantly White university and the racially diverse college in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, and GPA. There were also no significant differences between the college samples with respect to overall college adjustment scores and academic adjustment scores. There were significant differences between the two samples in their racial composition of community of origin and in family SES background. Specifically, students from the predominantly White university were more likely to come from a community that was racially mixed or mostly White (2 12.90, p .01), and were more likely to come from middle and upper-middle class family backgrounds, F(1, 137) 9.25, p .01. In order to obtain adequate sample size, data from the two samples were

The heads of Black organizations and an administrator in the athletic department were contacted to aid in the recruitment of Black college students from the predominantly White university. The majority of students obtained from this university were recruited from Black student organizations, school sponsored cultural events, and the athletic department. The students recruited from the racially diverse college primarily came from the subject pool from introductory psychology classes. With all 141 participants, the study was briefly explained and the informed consent form was signed and kept apart from the surveys. All of the students were administered self-report questionnaires in groups of 5 to 15. The participants from the predominantly White university usually completed the surveys in the library or in a study room and were offered a snack for their participation in the study. The participants from the racially diverse university completed the surveys in an auditorium after class ended and were given extra

Table 2 Intercorrelation Matrix of Study Variables

Variables Racial identity 1. Miseducation 2. Assimilation 3. Self hatred 4. Immersion 5. Multicultural 6. Afrocentric 7. Racial socialization College adjustment 8. Total 9. Academic

2 .14

3 .21* .06

4 .18* .17* .15

5 .08 .06 .05 .29**

6 .13 .22** .07 .41*** .09

7 .08 .14 .07 .05 .16 .34**

8 .31** .01 .12 .18* .17* .20* .08

9 .22** .05 .12 .17* .15* .09 .23** .83****

p .05.


p .01.


p .001.


p .0001.



combined; however, the differences found between the two samples (i.e., racial composition of community of origin and family SES) were controlled for in subsequent multivariate analyses.

found between an immersion-emersion racial identity and overall college adjustment, r(141) .18, p .05, and academic college adjustment, r(141) .17, p .05.

Correlation Analyses
The bivariate correlations for all study variables are presented in Table 2. It was hypothesized that the total racial socialization score would be positively related to overall and academic college adjustment scores. Racial socialization significantly correlated only with academic college adjustment, r(141) .23, p .01. It was also hypothesized that internalized multicultural and Afrocentric racial identity scores would positively correlate with overall and academic college adjustment scores. A significant positive correlation was found between an internalized-multicultural racial identity and overall college adjustment, r(141) .17, p .05, and academic college adjustment, r(141) .15, p .05. Contrary to what was hypothesized, a significant negative correlation was found between an internalized Afrocentric racial identity and overall college adjustment, r(141) .20, p .05. It was hypothesized that the three pre-encounter racial identity scores (i.e., assimilation, miseducation, self-hatred), and immersion-emersion racial identity score would be negatively related to overall and academic college adjustment scores. Significant negative correlations were found between a pre-encounter miseducated racial identity and overall college adjustment, r(141) .31, p .001, and academic college adjustment, r(141) .22, p .01. A significant negative correlation was

Regression Analyses
Hierarchical multiple regression analyses using two models were used to examine the relative contribution and amount of variance explained by the 6 racial identity scores (i.e., assimilation, miseducation, self-hatred, immersion-emersion, Afrocentric, and multicultural) and total racial socialization score on overall college adjustment scores. A second set of two multiple regression models were conducted with the same predictors as in the first model, (i.e., the 6 racial identity scores and total racial socialization score) and academic college adjustment as the criterion variable. Racial community of origin, which was recoded as two dummy variables with mostly Black as the reference group, family SES, gender, and age were entered first as covariates in the first step for both sets of analyses. Results of these regression analyses are presented in Table 3. In the first set of regression analyses, at the first step, the covariates accounted for 5.2% of the variance in overall college adjustment and the model was not significant, F(5, 132) 1.43, p .05. However, age was positively related to overall college adjustment, B .21, t(137) 2.46, p .05, in that model. At the second step, the racial identity and racial socialization variables accounted for an additional 16% of the variance in overall college adjustment and was significant, F(7, 125) 3.62, p .01. Pre-encounter miseducation was the only racial identity score that

Table 3 Hierarchical Multiple Regression: Racial Identity and Racial Socialization on Overall and Academic College Adjustment
Overall college adjustment Variables Step 1: Covariates Racially mixed community Mostly White community Family SES Age Gender F(5, 132) R2 Step 2: Racial identity Miseducation Self-hatred Assimilation Immersion-emersion Afrocentric Multicultural Racial socialization F(12, 125) R2 Step 3: Interaction terms Age Socialization Gender Socialization F(14, 123) R2 Note. N 138. SES socioeconomic status. * p .05. ** p .01. b (SE) .13 (11.94) 3.14 (18.60) 4.56 (7.20) 4.90** (1.99) 6.81 (11.16) 1.43 .052 2.93 (.87)* .25 (.96) .24 (.86) 1.57 (1.32) 1.49 (.99) .84 (1.19) .89 (.46)a 2.79** .212 .09 (.14) .93 (.95) 2.50** .221 .46 .73 .29* .02 .02 .11 .14 .06 .17a B .00 .02 .06 .21** .05 Academic adjustment b (SE) .33 (4.82) .33 (7.50) 2.21 (2.94) 2.12** (.80) 3.12 (4.50) 1.68 .060 .80* (.35) .17 (.39) .02 (.35) .71 (.54) .34 (.41) .19 (.49) .62** (.19) 2.61** .200 .02 (.06) .33 (.39) 2.28** .206 .27 .64 .19* .04 .01 .12 .08 .03 .30** B .01 .00 .07 .22** .06



was significantly related to overall college adjustment (B .29, t(137) 3.38, p .01) in that model. The relationship between racial socialization and overall college adjustment was marginally significant, B .17, t(137) 1.92, p .06. Given its relevance to racial socialization, we specifically tested whether gender and age modified the relationship between racial socialization and college adjustment by adding two interaction terms (i.e., racial socialization age; racial socialization gender) in a third step. These two interaction terms accounted for an additional 1% of the variance in overall college adjustment and were not significant. See Table 3 for details. In the second set of regression models, the same covariates and predictor variables were used and academic college adjustment was the dependent variable. Results of this analysis are also presented in Table 3. At the first step, the covariates accounted for 6% of the variance in college adjustment and the model was not significant. However, age was positively related to academic adjustment, B .22, t(137) 2.64, p .01, in that model. At the second step the racial identity and racial socialization variables accounted for an additional 14% of the variance in academic adjustment and was found to be significant, F(7, 125) 3.13, p .01. Pre-encounter miseducation racial identity, B .19, t(137) 2.27, p .05, and racial socialization, B .30, t(137) 3.33, p .01, were significantly related to academic college adjustment in the model. At the third step, the two interaction terms (i.e., racial socialization age; racial socialization gender) accounted for an additional .6% of the variance in academic adjustment and were not significant. Thus, the effect of age on overall and academic college adjustment was such that the older participants experienced better adjustment than younger participants, and this was consistent across all frequencies of racial socialization experiences. In other words, the effect of age on college adjustment did not alter the relationship between racial socialization and college adjustment.

The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of racial socialization and racial identity on Black students college adjustment. In terms of racial identity, an internalized multicultural racial identity was the only racial identity that was associated with better overall adjustment to college. This identity is characterized by an embracement of ones Black identity and feelings of connectedness with other cultural groups (e.g., Hispanics, Jews, and gays). This suggests that students with such an identity are likely to feel an overall sense of satisfaction with their overall college experience. This may include feeling more satisfied with their social ties and their college decision, and feeling more adept at handling their schoolwork. These results are consistent with Popes (2000) study on racial identity and student developmental tasks. Pope found that students who had a secure Black sense of self (i.e., internalized racial identity) were better able to establish a purpose in college, and develop mature relationships and academic autonomy, than students with pre-encounter racial identity attitudes. Contrary to what was hypothesized, an internalized Afrocentric racial identity was associated with poorer overall college adjustment. This finding suggests that students who strongly embrace an Afrocentric perspective may struggle with feeling satis-

fied socially at school and with their college decision, and may feel isolated and not supported in their college environments. In predominantly White or ethnically diverse college environments, students may not have access to the kinds of academic and social settings that support Afrocentric principles. Thus, it appears that having a more inclusive racial identity in which one feels connected with other cultural groups (i.e., internalized multicultural) may make it easier to adjust to college in a predominantly White or racially mixed setting, perhaps by allowing for feeling a sense of belonging and attachment to the university. These findings from the present study lend support to the Vandiver and colleagues (2000) revised model in which an internalized racial identity appears to have two distinct components (i.e., Afrocentric and Multicultural), which in this study was found to have different implications for college adjustment. However, it is also possible that the unexpected negative result may be attributable to the way an Internalized Afrocentric racial identity is measured by the CRIS. As noted in a previous study (i.e., Cokley, 2002), the term Afrocentric was used throughout the five items on the Internalized Afrocentric subscale. This is methodologically problematic because the word Afrocentric is never defined. In addition, contrary to what would be expected theoretically, the internalized Afrocentric subscale was highly positively associated with the Immersion-Emersion Anti-White racial identity subscale. Thus, it is difficult to ascertain whether the respondents had the same understanding of the term Afrocentric, that was intended by the makers of the CRIS. Given the often negative media representations of Afrocentricity, it is possible that the respondents associated inaccurate or negative beliefs with the term (Cokley, 2002). It is possible that students who endorsed aligning with Afrocentric as a term were mainly responding to the anger characteristic of the Immersion-Emersion stage, and not to the revised aspect of the internalization stage characterized by an affirmative and salient Black sense of self. Miseducated pre-encounter and immersion-emersion racial identities were associated with poorer overall adjustment to college. This suggests that students who have a miseducated and negative Black sense of self may experience more difficulty acclimating to college. They specifically may experience more difficulty feeling satisfied academically and socially. Believing in the negative stereotypes about ones racial group may make it difficult to feel competent and confident around predominantly White or ethnically diverse groups of students. In addition, students who reject White people and culture may feel overwhelmed with their college experience in a predominantly White or mixed-race/ multicultural environment. The results from the regression analyses indicate that racial identity and racial socialization explain a statistically significant amount of the variation in overall college adjustment and specifically academic college adjustment, even after controlling for relevant demographic factors like age, which was positively related to overall and academic college adjustment. A pre-encounter miseducated racial identity arose as a significant negative predictor of overall college adjustment and academic adjustment. This finding suggests the more Black students endorse stereotypes about their racial group the poorer their adjustment to college. This particular finding lends support to Steele and Aronsons (1995) work on stereotype threat and its negative impact on academic performance among Black college students. Steele and Aronson



argued that stereotype threat occurs when individuals recognize that negative stereotypes about their racial group might be applicable to themselves in the moment. It is possible that students who racially identify themselves through negative stereotypes face this type of threat more often than students who do not racially define themselves in this way, thereby impeding academic adjustment. In addition, as noted by Fordham and Ogbu (1986), because the stereotypical images of academic excellence usually include Whites and Asians, and not Blacks, endorsing stereotypes may increase the propensity to identify with poorer academic performance. Racial socialization was found to be a significant positive predictor of academic adjustment. Thus, receiving racial socialization messages while growing up about being proud of ones Black/ African heritage and about the realities of racism, appears to contribute to one being able to experience positive aspects of academic adjustment. For example, such students would tend to feel more satisfied with academic courses and performance, and to have a sense of purpose in college. This positive racial socialization-academic adjustment relationship found in the present study is consistent with the study conducted by Nora and Cabrera (1996), who found that parental encouragement positively affected academic experience in Black college students. The role of parents seems to be a contributing factor in future academic success, and the present study suggests that this important role is extended to the specific realm of racial socialization as well as previously found nonspecific encouragement.

a significant amount of variance is unaccounted for. There is more research needed to explain the other portions of the variance in conjunction with racial variables. Integrating culturally relevant variables with nonrace-specific variables of psychological functioning would make a stronger study and highlight the mechanisms by which racial variables interact with other general psychological variables to explain adjustment in college. For example, whether there are other possible mediating factors through which teaching a child about how to survive and be proud as a Black person (i.e., racial socialization) helps them feel more satisfied academically should also be examined. It is possible that parents who racially socialize their children are just more involved in their lives and may offer more encouragement throughout the college process. Future research should examine to what extent racial socialization has an effect independent of other positive parental characteristics.

Adjusting to college is very challenging for all students and may be particularly difficult for Black students. Improving adjustment in college may improve the ability of these students to make it through to the end and graduate. This study has identified racial socialization factors that may improve academic adjustment in college, and some racial identity factors which may make it more difficult for Black students. Psychologists at universities can provide support to those Black students who are struggling with their racial sense of self. A student who begins counseling may be battling with a negative self-image that incorporates negative stereotypes of Black people. This type of student will likely have more difficulty adjusting socially and gaining a sense of belonging to the university. University and college counseling centers can be instrumental in the retention of Black college students. For example, racial support groups can possibly aid in the transition to college for incoming students, where issues of racial identity and racial socialization can be addressed. Psycho-educational groups can teach and prepare Black students about how to survive culturally and deal with racism, and increase their sense of belonging and academic adjustment in college. In addition, promoting multiculturalism among Black students and helping to foster relationships across groups may improve the adjustment process to college. Addressing these issues of racial identification and preparation may make incoming Black students transition to college easier, and thereby improve retention.

Methodological Limitations and Directions for Future Research

The present study begins to explain adjustment among Black college students; however, there are some limitations to the study that require mentioning. One limitation concerns the different sampling recruitment strategies used at each college, but any sociodemographic differences identified between the two samples were controlled for in the regression analyses. In addition, the demographics of the sample may not be representative of other Black college student populations. The sample was very mixed ethnically with a significant proportion of students who identified as West-Indian/Caribbean or African. The representation of immigrant students may not be typical of all Black college student populations in the United States because Black immigrant concentrations are greatest in the Northeast (Waters, 1994). This limits the generalizability of these results to Black college populations in other regions of the United States, in which there may be less immigrant representation. Also, these results may have been different at a historically Black university. Vandiver and colleagues (2000) new measure of racial identity has not yet been examined in relation to college adjustment in a sample of Black students attending a historically Black university. It would be necessary to replicate this finding using the new CRIS measure in other college settings. Another limitation of this study was sample size. The sample size was adequate for the analyses employed in this study; however, a larger sample size would have given more power to examine other interaction effects. The correlation and regression coefficients in this study were significant but small. Racial variables explain some of the variance in college adjustment; however,

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