Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph R. Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Glinda J. Rawls

Third Advisor

Dr. Douglas V. Davidson


Community involvement, protective factor, Black college students, predominantly White institutions


The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of community involvement on psychological functioning, academic success, and critical consciousness in Black undergraduate students enrolled at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). Research has found that Black students attending PWIs often report feelings of isolation, non-acceptance, and rejection (Lett & Wright, 2003). Attrition rates are higher for Black students compared to their White counterparts (Lee & Barnes, 2015), and general and race-related perceived stressors have been associated with psychological distress (Neville, Heppner, Ji, & Thye, 2004). An online survey was used to assess general and race-related stress, psychological functioning, critical consciousness, and level of community involvement in Black undergraduate students currently enrolled at PWIs. Participants consisted of 125 Black undergraduate students enrolled at predominantly White institutions in the Midwest and South-Central regions of the United States. A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses were run in order to test four hypotheses predicting the relationship between community involvement, perceived racism, psychological functioning and critical consciousness. The first hypothesis examined the relationship between community involvement and psychological functioning using the CCAPS-62 subscale indexes. The second hypothesis tested whether community involvement influenced academic success, which was measured using participants’ self-reported cumulative grade point average. The third hypothesis looked at the influence of community involvement on critical consciousness. Lastly, the fourth hypothesis examined community involvement as a moderating variable between perceived racism and psychological functioning. Findings revealed community involvement to be a significant predictor for hostility, substance use, and critical consciousness. Additionally, results showed that community involvement moderated the relationship between perceived racism and various components of psychological functioning. Limitations of the study are discussed along with implications for future research and practice.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access