Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt

Second Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Third Advisor

Tevni Grajales

Abstract

Problem

The literature is clear that African American youth receive a shallow account from parents and schools about Black history. More importantly, African American male youth from low-income families rarely receive information about Black history. Youth today watch television for entertainment and through watching television learn about new facts and information. African American youth watch more television than any other ethnic group. The media has a long history of portraying African Americans in a negative light. The negative media portrayals of African Americans have impacted their racial identity, self-esteem, self-efficacy and their mental health. No research has been done on the effects of watching a Black History film since Roots back in the 1970’s. Further research is needed to understand the impact of how watching and learn from a Black history documentary impacts low-income young African American males’ racial identity, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and depression.

Method

A mix study design was conducted for this study. First a true experimental design was conducted for 20 African Americans males from low-income families. Participants were randomly assigned to a treatment group and a control group. The treatment group (n=10) watched a Black history documentary for six weeks and filled out pretest and posttest measures on their racial identity, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and depression. The control group (n=10) only filled out same measures as the treatment group but did not watch a video. Participants of the treatment group (n=5) continued with the study after the 6 weeks to answer questions on how the documentary impacted their racial identity, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and depression in a form of a case study.

Results

The MANCOVA and the ANCOVA found that the Black history documentary did not impact participants of the treatment groups’ racial identity, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and depression. Results indicated that the treatment group and the control group had similar racial identity, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and depression scores. However, the case study based found themes that consisted of knowledge of Black history, importance of supporting the Black community, desire to learn about Black history, continuity of African American identity development, higher self-esteem, higher self-efficacy, and mixed emotions.

Conclusions

Watching Black history documentaries can impact young African American males’ racial identity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. The documentary helped participants feel pride in their race, accomplish anything they set their mind too, and feel better about themselves. This study also provided implications for mental health professionals who work with African Americans. It suggests that mental health professionals need to learn more about Black history and understand the barriers African Americans face when working with mental health services.

Subject Area

African-American youth--Race identity, Self-efficacy, Self-esteem

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