Sociocultural and Mental Health Adjustment of Black Student-Athletes: Within-Group Differences and Institutional Setting

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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  • 1 Kansas Athletics, Inc.
  • 2 Salem State University
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Research has shown that African American college students have a difficult time adjusting at predominately White institutions (PWIs) in comparison with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with regard to both general and race-related stressors (Neville, Heppner, Ji, & Thye, 2004; Prillerman, Myers, & Smedley, 1989; Sedlacek, 1999). For college student-athletes, the campus environment can challenge their capacity to ft in and adhere to academic and social expectations, perhaps especially for Black student-athletes (BSA). The current study therefore examined the sociocultural and mental health adjustment of 98 BSA based on their perceived social support, perceived campus racial climate, team cohesion, and life events using latent profle analysis (LPA). Results indicated three distinct profile groups: Low Social Support/Cohesion, High Minority Stress, and High Social Support/Cohesion. Profiles were predictive of adjustment concerns and campus setting (PWIs vs. HBCUs), highlighting within-group differences among BSA. Implications for interventions to facilitate and support healthy adjustment and success for BSA are discussed.

Sheriece Sadberry is with Kansas Athletics, Inc. in Lawrence, KS. Michael Mobley is an associate professor in the Psychology Department at Salem State University in Salem, MA.

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