Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education and International Services


Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Bradly Hinman

Second Advisor

Carole Woolford-Hunt

Third Advisor

Jimmy Kijai



This study aimed to assess the influence of ethnic identity, spirituality, and social support on resilience among Black males (BM) who were born in the United States of America and are recent college graduates. The achievement gap between BM and their counterparts is among education's most infuriating problems. Educators are more likely to dissuade Black men from going to college, and those who enroll drop out before they graduate (Noguera 2003; Wilborn 2013).


This study employed a non-experimental, quantitative correlation research design using self-report questionnaires. The target population for this study was American-born Black males who were graduates from any four-year post-secondary institution in the United States of America. The 380 respondents in the study ranged from 21 to 35 years of age. The questionnaire used in this study included instruments such as the CD-RISC-25, which measured resilience, the MEIM-R, which measured ethnic identity, the ISS, which measured spirituality, and the MSPSS, which measured social support. Testing and analysis of the data was completed with structural equation modeling and descriptive statistics. A mediation analysis was also conducted to assess the relationship between spirituality and resilience, with social support as the mediator, and the relationship between social support and resilience with ethnic identity as a mediator.


This study examined the nature of resilience among Black male college graduates in the United States. The findings revealed that Black male graduates possess moderate levels of resilience (M=77.7, SD=16.2). For the ethnic identity of Black male college graduates, results showed that the participants in the sample typically responded with relatively moderate to high ratings. (M=3.28, SD=0.57). Subsequently, the results showing the intrinsic spirituality (SI) of Black male college graduates indicated that approximately 75.3% of the participants who identified as spiritual in the sample endorsed within the moderate range to test items (M=4.66, SD=2.6; M=5.97, SD=3.0). This study also examined who provides Black male college graduates with social support. Findings showed that the participants received an adequate amount of perceived social support from mostly family and friends (M=5.18, SD=1.40; M=5.18, SD=1.38). Through an analysis using structural equation modeling, the hypothesized model demonstrated an acceptable fit to the data. (GFI =.92, NFI = .91, TLI=.93, and CFI = .94) The Chi-Square value of 257.32, df = 99, RMSEA of .07, and the SRMR of .28 of the initial model required modification, as the criterion for the SRMR index was not met. The respecified model showed a Chi-square value of 155.82, df = 70, and p = .000. and after an examination of the fit indices (SRMR= .12 RMSEA=.06, GFI =.95, NFI = .94, TLI=.96, and CFI = .97) it was clear an improved fit to the data was achieved. The results also indicated that social support was the best predictor of resilience among the participants in the sample. (β = .53, p < .01). A mediation analysis assessed how spirituality affects the resilience of Black male college graduates through social support as a mediating variable. Results indicated that spirituality had an insignificant indirect effect on resilience through social support (β = 0.033, p=.003, unstandardized, β =0.064, p=.223 standardized). In addition, a mediation analysis was completed to determine how social support affects the resilience of Black male college graduates through ethnic identity as a mediating variable. Results revealed that ethnic identity partially mediates the association between resilience and social support (β = 0.084, p=.004, unstandardized, β =0.140, p=.005 standardized).


This study revealed that Black male college graduates persevere during times of adversity, have a clear sense of their ethnic identity, and tend to be most resilient when they receive adequate social support. The result of the current study contributes to the gap in the literature investigating the relationship between ethnic identity, social support, and spirituality as it relates to the resilience of Black male college graduates. Counseling psychologists, as well as other professionals who work with Black males and other at-risk populations, can use the information garnered from this study to make further contributions to the framework of resilience.

Subject Area

College students, Black; Resilience (Personality trait); Ethnicity; Students--Social life and customs; Students--Religious life