Exploring the Relationship Between Campus Climate And Minority Stress in African American College Students
Jr., Donald Mitchell
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During recent decades, there has been a growth in research exploring the social experiences of African American students attending institutions of higher education. Research that examines minority stress suggests that students of color experience cognitive stressors specific to their racial identity or status as minorities on campus. Many studies have expanded on this knowledge in terms of academic achievement, retention, and adjustment to campus during the first year. The present study explored the concept of minority stress in relation to campus climate and the mental health of African American college students. The participants in this study consisted of eight college students from a predominantly White Midwestern university who identified as African American. Utilizing one-on-one interviews, the students discussed their experiences on campus, their perceptions of campus climate, the stress they experienced as students of color, and how these aspects may have contributed to symptoms of depression and anxiety. Information shared by the students indicated that campus climate and minority stress are closely associated with one another, especially when considering the racial status of the students. While students described feeling stress, discomfort, and burden due to campus climate and minority stress, the investigators were unable to determine if the symptoms described were, in fact, due to anxiety or depression.