Enrollment, achievement, and graduation rates for minority students within higher education continue to lag behind those of their white and Asian peers and one contributing factor is racism. Experiences of racism may lead to problems with engagement and academic performance. Spirituality has been shown to enhance health and well being and has been linked to an increased ability to cope. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of minority college students coping with the stress of racism. Specifically, this study examined if and how minority college students experience racism, how they cope with stress caused by racism, and how they utilize spiritual techniques to cope with the stress of racism. One-on-one, semistructured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 10 (five male and five female) minority or ethnic college students who have experienced or are currently experiencing distress due to racism. The sample was drawn from the student population at a single, predominantly white, post-secondary institution of higher education. Following the modified van Kaam phenomenological data analysis process, the findings provided six overarching themes, which included (a) a described conceptualization of racism as negative actions of prejudice and discrimination; (b) experiences of direct racism, such as racial comments, negative behaviors, or direct discrimination, eliciting emotional responses of sadness, anger, offense, and embarrassment; (c) perceptions of increased stress generated by racism that was felt to contribute to academic disengagement; (d) social segregation as an unnoticed effect of racism; (e) primary coping strategies of spiritual techniques, self-removal, positive attitude, distraction, and avoiding/ignoring behaviors used to support staying positive and remaining calm; and (f) perceived effectiveness of spiritual techniques for coping with stress related to racism experienced on campus, supporting efforts to maintain a calm demeanor, positive attitude, self-confidence, and motivation, and reasserting personal strength and purpose. These findings can be used to benefit minority students experiencing racism by providing information to increase coping and contributing to the field of counseling by providing an understanding of the use of spiritual techniques for this population.
|Commitee:||Miller, Kathryn, Sneed, Katti|
|Department:||Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Sociology, Ethnic studies, Spirituality|
|Keywords:||College students, Coping, Minority, Racism, Social justice|
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