African-American students' help-seeking behavior: A comparative study based on academic performance and class level

Lisa Toi Jones, Marquette University

Abstract

African-American students face many concerns which are difficult to handle alone. In light of this, the present study was designed to determine who the African-American population at Marquette University seeks as help sources when faced with personal, educational, financial and environmental stressors. This study was also designed to determine why these students select the formal and/or informal help sources they do. Groups compared were students performing below minimum academic standards and those performing at or above minimum academic standards, as well as upper and lower division students. Subjects included 178 (67%) of the 265 African-American, full-time, undergraduate students attending Marquette University. Marquette is a private, four year institution located in the mid-west. Subjects were mailed a questionnaire designed to gather information regarding academic progress, class standing and help source selection, following the Fall 1990 semester. Chi-square analyses were conducted to determine if a difference in help source selection existed among responses based on academic performance and/or class standing. The results of a t-test indicated that, when all responses were combined, informal help sources were sought significantly more often by the total group studied than formal ones. The chi-square analyses indicated that the lower division students were significantly more likely to seek out a financial aid advisor most often when faced with financial stressors than were upper division students. Also, students performing below minimum academic standards selected relatives significantly more often than students performing above minimum academic standards when experiencing educational concerns. Finally, students performing above minimum academic standards were significantly more likely to select relatives as help sources when faced with environmental stressors than were students performing below minimum academic standards. When asked why they selected the help sources they did, students stated that their help source was trustworthy, knowledgeable, and/or could understand their ethnic background and relate to their needs. The findings in this study suggest that, in order to better serve African-American students on the predominantly White campus, helpers need to become aware of the problems they face, and structure programs and outreach attempts to effectively address those problems.

Recommended Citation

Lisa Toi Jones, "African-American students' help-seeking behavior: A comparative study based on academic performance and class level" (January 1, 1991). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI9133797.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9133797

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