Grit and Stress: Predictors of African American Success?

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Education Leadership EdD

Date of Award

Summer 2018


First-generation minority students embark upon the community college campus in large numbers yet persistence to degree completion is waning, specifically for African Americans. The downward spiral has far-reaching implications in the job market, socioeconomic attainment, and community development. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of grit, one’s ability to overcome obstacles to reach a long-term goal, and stress, one’s response to a stressful situation, in the success of first-generation minority students at the community college. Specifically, do these variables explain the disparity in graduation rates among minority students? Seventy-five self-identified African American community college students participated in the study. The findings revealed no significant difference in the grit levels and stress levels of first-generation and non-first-generation African American students at the community college level. Thus, grit and stress were non-significant in explaining early departure of this population. Implications for further study are also discussed.


MaryJo Dondlinger

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education