An Exploration of Black American and Dominican Young Adults' Perceived Ethnic Value, Perceived Effects of Family Poverty, General Self-Esteem, and Attitudes Toward School

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Fall 2014


The discrimination many ethnic minorities face can be detrimental to their psychological well-being (Sellers et al., 1998). Ethnic minority students in our public schools can be negatively affected by discrimination and negative perceptions held by mainstream society (Ogbu, 1978). Therefore, there is a need for greater understanding of how discrimination impacts different minority students. This impact can be seen in some minority students' attitudes and feelings towards education and institutions such as schools, which can negatively affect their academic achievement (Ogbu, 1978). It is a difficult task to determine how to combat these negative attitudes, but first they must be understood. This study replicated a study (Rivas-Drake et al., 2008) done with similar subjects in New York City. This study examined and compared Dominican and African American young adults' perceived ethnic value (how they feel about their ethnicity and how others feel about their ethnicity), perceived effects of family poverty (how the participants feel that their socioeconomic status affects their ability to attend college or have a career), their general self-esteem, and how these factors influence these young adults' attitudes toward school. The current study used Black and Dominican students from the Dallas area where the participants were between the ages of 16 and 18. To analyze these variables quantitatively, regression and Kruskal-Wallis one-way analyses of variance were utilized. The results showed that the dependent variables of perceived ethnic identity, perceived effects of family poverty, and general self-esteem can predict attitudes towards school. The Kruskal-Wallis analyses yielded significant differences in that Blacks overall scored higher than Dominicans with Black males scoring higher than other ethnic/gender groups on all dependent variables. There were significant differences in the measure of ethnic identity, with Black males scoring differently than Dominican males and females. Constant comparative analysis was utilized in the qualitative assessment to examine the subjective minority experiences of the participants and six themes were revealed: positive and negative feelings and connections towards one's culture, positive and negative perceptions from outside groups about participants' ethnicity, perceived effect of the family's financial situation on one's future, positive and negative attitudes towards and success in school, and desire for more individualized and personal connections.


Laura Green

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education