Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)
School of Education
Lisa Lopez Levers
Emma C. Mosley
adolescents, African american, protective factors, school success
For many adolescents who live in a high-risk neighborhood, harsh and sometimes dangerous circumstances often interfere with the ability to enjoy school success. While quantitative methods have been employed to reveal protective factors among African American male adolescents, few qualitative studies exist that analyze the lived experiences of this population of youth and their ability to flourish despite environmental disadvantages. This study is a phenomenologically-oriented narrative case study of five African American male adolescents who attend high school in a small, rural community and who are on track to graduate. The primary philosophies that framed this study were Ryan and Deci's (2006) theory of self-determination and Bronfenbrenner's (1979; 2005) bioecological model of human development. Data was derived from a demographic survey, co-researchers' responses to a semi-structured interview guide during in-depth individual interviews, and personal observations and interactions. The following findings emerged as protective factors among the five adolescents interviewed: satisfaction of needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness), opportunities for meaningful participation, strong connection with at least one adult, and meaningful friendships. In light of these findings, school counselors, teachers, administrators, and policy makers can advance the cause of students who live in high-risk neighborhoods by promoting and implementing programs and activities that support and encourage these types of protective factors within the school environment.
Thomas, C. (2007). School Success Among African American Male Adolescents: An Existential Examination of Protective Factors (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1276