Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Kelly McDonnell

Third Advisor

Dr. Delores Walcott


Coping, mental health, music, adolescents, college students, African American


The present study explored approaches to coping among Africultural, college students between the ages of 18 and 22 years. Coping strategies applied to Africultural adolescents and young adults have been studied from a majority culture, adult lens. In this context, Africultural is used to refer to people of self-identified African descent including and not limited to people who identify as African American (e.g., parent(s) were born in America, individual was born in America), of African descent and living in America (e.g., parents were born in Africa, individual was born in Africa), mixed African American and another ethnic group including Latino/a, and Afro-Caribbean. The intention of this study was to thoroughly examine the use of music as a medium toward a spiritually grounded process of ethereal escape. This study further aimed to propose ethereal escape as a form of coping among Africultural populations of older adolescents/ young adults. The desired outcome of this study is a transformation in the understanding (of the value) of creative forms of expression that may support ethereal escape among Africultural populations of young adults who are managing acute and chronic stress associated with prolonged exposure to adversity.

Participants for this study were recruited using list-serves prepared by offices of Institutional Research at two large universities in the United States. A total of 155 people participated in the study. Descriptive data were collected and reported. Cluster analysis was used to identify groups using distinct combinations of coping systems. MANOVAs, with follow up ANOVAs and paired comparisons were used to examine unique differences in coping strategies among cluster groups. Discriminant Function Analysis was also used as a follow up to MANOVA to determine how coping systems combine to define dimensions underlying distinctions between cluster groups. Additional ANOVAs were performed to explore response patterns among cluster groups regarding spirituality, music listening and previously identified indicators of ethereal escape. It was predicted that there would be a relationship among coping strategies and that there would be sufficient endorsement of ethereal escape indicators to create a focus group aimed at learning more about participants’ lived experiences of using ethereal escape. Results of this study confirmed use of Africultural systems of coping at a frequency higher than coping strategies not grounded in Africultural principles. Results also suggest there was a group of participants who likely use ethereal escape as an approach to coping with stress. The process by which ethereal escape is used could not be explored due to participants not meeting previously established criteria for the focus group.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons