Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology



First Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Second Advisor

Laura R. Johnson

Third Advisor

Todd A. Smitherman

Relational Format



High stress levels can have profound physical and emotional effects. College students frequently experience high levels of stress. While it has been noted that college students frequently report elevated stress levels, it may be that African-American college students are at exceptionally high risk for experiencing high stress levels. This observation is said to be the result of the added burden of minority status stressors. The current study examined stress levels in African-American college students attending majority (Predominantly White Institutions or PWIs) and minority (Historically Black Colleges and Universities or HBCUs) institutions. Participants completed an online survey that consisted of measures of perceived stress, student stress, social support, minority status stress, and psychological well-being. Contrary to expectations no difference was observed in levels of academic and interpersonal stress for African Americans attending PWIs and those attending HBCUs. Consistent with the literature, African Americans attending PWIs experience higher levels of minority status stress relative to African Americans attending HBCUs. Lastly, inconsistent with a number of studies, social support did not moderate the relationship between minority status stress and psychological well-being. Implications for these findings are discussed.


Emphasis: Clinical Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons



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