Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Elvin Gabriel

Second Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt

Third Advisor

Tevni Grajales



Not much attention has been devoted to the academic experiences of Black African college students, the latter being typically categorized with those of African Americans (Kim, 2014). While research has effectively documented the social challenges that African American college students experience at (Predominantly White Institutions (PWI). much less research has been conducted on the social experiences of subcategories within the Black population, specifically, Black Africans. Though researchers have speculated on the potential differences between the social integration experiences of Black Africans and African American college students as these relate to religious orientation and racial identity attitude, no empirical studies exist on the proposed connection.


The sample for this study consisted of 174 African American and 170 Black African college students attending PWIs within the U.S. Participants completed the BRIAS, I/E-R and IIS to provide input on one’s racial identity attitude, religious orientation, and peer-group interactions. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the joint and independent impact of racial identity attitude and religious orientation on the social integration experiences of Black African and African American college students attending PWIs .


The initial research design was a poor fit for the data, so it was revised on the basis of theory and modification indices. The research design for the collective sample, the Black African sample, and the African American sample respectively resulted in similar fit indices and path relationships. All three models illustrated a weak direct effect between religious orientation and social integration. Also, all three designs illustrated a moderate direct relationship between racial identity attitude and social integration.


It can be contended that within the college milieu the status of one’s racial identity attitude has the potential to influence interpersonal relationships with peers in the boarder social context (Sanchez & Gilbert, 2016). The results also illustrate similarities in racial scores between groups. Lastly, it should be noted that in spite of the comparable racial identity scores, in this study Black African college students have distinctive cultural contexts and identities that have been retained and resulted in much less assimilation to mainstream social norms of the US society (Portes & Fernandez-Kelly, 2008). These distinctive identities should not be discounted since they may have a significant impact on individual and social functioning within the academic setting.

Subject Area

Race relations; Blacks--Race identity; African American students; Social integration; Predominantly White Institutions (PWI)