An examination of the adjustment of first generation African American male college students

Adina Narcisse Green


Little is known about the college adjustment of first generation African American male students. The purpose of this study was to examine the college adjustment of this subgroup of students and create a profile of African American male college students as it relates to adjustment. In addition, research has found that students who do not integrate well into the college environment, both academically and socially, have a higher chance of incompletion. With African American males exhibiting the lowest retention and graduation rates among their gender and racial counterparts, investigating their levels of adjustment might aid in explaining their high rates of attrition. Students who are of first generation college status are also deemed to be at risk of incompletion, so students who met the criteria for being African American male and first generation are given specific attention in this study. This study examined the adjustment of first generation African American males, as well as those who were not of first generational status, in five areas of adjustment: overall, academic, social, personal-emotional, and attachment (institutional) as measured by the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ). Student demographic background was investigated using a demographic questionnaire. The sample was comprised of 140 African American males from one 4-year public Predominantly White Institution (PWI) in the South. The majority of the participants were first generation students (n=80). The results of the study revealed statistically significant differences among the subscales of adjustment for first generation African American students in that the score for personal-emotional adjustment was significantly different from the scores for the other areas of adjustment. In addition statistically significant differences in social adjustment based on student classification were found. No statistically significant difference was found in the adjustment of African American males who are first generation students and African American male students who are not of first generational status.