This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of Social Relationships and Experiences of African American Students at Predominantly White Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities




Jones, Teresa

Type of Degree



Counseling Psychology


African American college students have historically faced many forms of rejection and isolation at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs), particularly during the early years of academic integration (Allen, 1992; Mendoza-Denton, Downey, Purdie, Davis & Pietrzak, 2002). This study was conducted to determine if African American students who attend Predominantly White Institutions have different social experiences than their counterparts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Participants were solicited for this study using online social networking sites. There were 81 usable surveys from 55 (66.9%) females and 26 (32.1%) males. Fifty-four (66.7%) of participants were from PWIs and 27 (33.3%) attended HBCUs. Results indicated that African American students who attended HBCUs reported greater satisfaction with life than their counterparts at PWIs (F (2, 76) = 3.345, p < .05). Despite higher levels of satisfaction, students at HBCUs reported being more concerned about race-based rejection than African American students at PWIs (F (1, 81) = 1.80, p < .05). African American males who attended HBCUs felt that rejection was more likely to occur when compared to African American females and African American males at PWIs. This study also found a positive correlation between the Satisfaction with Life Survey and the Sense of Belonging Inventory –A, and a negative correlation with the Sense of Belonging Inventory-B. There was no significant difference between African American students at PWIs and HBCUs regarding sense of belonging.