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ERIC Number: ED568437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 156
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-6161-1
The Interface of Risks and Protective Factors among African American Women in Clinically Focused Graduate Programs
Horsford, Sheena
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
Black females must navigate higher education as a gendered racial minority in solidarity or at the very least, one of a few Black females within their environment. This experience can create a lot of stress, isolation, or lack of support and direction. Within the Black community, Black women are obtaining PhDs at record numbers; however, compared to other female counterparts across racial ethnic groups, Black female PhD holders are lagging behind (NSF, 2011b). When accurately represented, Black women are lagging behind as a result of the intersection of their race and gender within higher education. Research shows Black women as high academic achievers, yet, it fails to capture their contextualized experiences (Chavous & Cogburn, 2007). In clinically focused doctoral programs, Black women are influenced by the overrepresentation of women, yet there remains a racial disparity among graduates (NSF, 2011a). Further, they are equated as the token representation of culture within the classroom and toward therapeutic practices (Maton et al., 2011; Wieling & Rastogi, 2003). Less is known how Black women have endured multiple levels of discrimination to obtain the doctoral degree. Further, it is unclear if there are certain identified protective factors that are more valuable to coping. This study utilized various theories to capture the contextualized experiences of Black women within these specific graduate programs: human ecological theory, risk and resilience framework, Black feminist theory, and critical race theory. Results revealed various risk factors within each ecological system of their graduate program. The risk factors included being an outsider because of minority status, witnessing visible tension among faculty members, and transient faculty. Interactions with faculty were described as both risk and protective factors. Participants described lack of diversity among faculty and negative interactions that influenced their experiences within the program. On the contrary, having a faculty mentor was essential to progressing through programs. The risk factors influenced participants' mental health and self-confidence. Finally, participants identified multiple coping mechanisms that protected them as they progressed forward. Eco-map findings revealed spiritual coping, a community of support, racial identity, faculty mentor, and family were frequently utilized supports among the participants. Participants described these supports as essential to helping them manage the stressors they experienced within their environment. Findings of this study suggest the importance of increasing supports for students and faculty members of color within academia. It is important students of color are not marginalized as a result of their race, but rather supported and accepted. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A