Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Pan-African Studies

Degree Program

Pan-African Studies, MA

Committee Chair

Byrd, W. Carson

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Best, Latrica

Committee Member

Best, Latrica

Committee Member

Brooms, Derrick

Author's Keywords

black students; social psychology; student perceptions; structural inequality; campus climate


Scholars have examined black student well-being in varying ways including through the framing of race-based rejection sensitivity (Downey & Feldman, 1996; Mendoza-Denton, Downey, Purdie, Davis, & Pietrzak, 2002) and racial self-consciousness (Clark & Clark, 1939). Research shows that black students perform worse academically when they display high levels of race-based rejection sensitivity and racial self-conscious levels (Brannon & Taylor, 2015; Clark & Clark, 1939; Koehler & Skvoretz, 2010), and feelings of racial self-consciousness or rejection sensitivity stem from discriminatory and prejudicial experiences. However, research has not fully connected the broader context surrounding black students in college to their high levels of anxiousness and their academic performance. The current study addresses how the college environment can influence black students’ racial self-conscious levels by examining four campus climate-related processes of race-based rejection sensitivity: perceptions of racial discrimination, perceptions of institutional commitments to racial diversity, perceptions of racial separation on campus, and perceptions of black student visibility. Additionally, this study considers how colorism may influence race-based rejection sensitivity and racial self-consciousness among black students, and how students’ worldview in relation to other blacks may shape their college experiences. Through analyses of data collected as part of the National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen, the current study utilizes ordinary least squares regression, means comparison, and binomial logistic regression analyses to identify how the aforementioned factors trigger black students’ racial self-conscious levels during college.