McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Sophia Thompson

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Major and Classification

Psychology

Faculty Mentors

  • Professor Stan Huey

Department

McNair Project

"Maintaining Resilience: Decision Making Skills as an Important Internal Protective Factor for African Americans in Higher Education"

The purpose of this paper was to review the current literature focusing on external and internal protective factors involved in the resiliency process and combine it with the current literature focusing on African American academic achievement and mental health in college. Specifically, the paper highlights the lack of research dedicated to internal protective factors and, furthermore, relating African American success in higher education to the process of resiliency. The paper proposes that decision making is an important internal protective factor not currently covered in the literature and that is it especially important to African Americans. The paper discusses the effectiveness of good decision making skills as a means for African American college students to cope with and manage college stressors generally and specific to African Americans. Thirty five studies were retrieved from psycINFO and Proquest computer databases. It is proposed that future empirical research look at the significance and influence of good decision-making skills on the mental health and academic success of African Americans in higher education.