The Impact Of Trauma On The Academic Performance Of African American Students At A Public Historically Black College
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
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Experiencing a singular or continuous traumatic event can have a long-term impact on the socio-emotional development and academic performance of students from at-risk communities. There is a dearth of research, which examines how traumatic events affect African American students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). African Americans are more likely to experience a traumatic event in comparison to other subgroups including Asians, Hispanics, and Whites. The intent of this quantitative research study was to determine whether there is a correlation between trauma exposure rates and academic performance for sample of undergraduate students who attend a public HBCU. The Trauma History Questionnaire (THQ) measured exposure to trauma, frequency of the exposure, and age of exposure. Academic performance was measured by students' self-reported cumulative grade point averages. A total of 2,000 undergraduate students were randomly selected for participation in this study. Approximately 227 African American undergraduate students participated in the study. The findings suggested that: (a) participants were exposed to a variety of traumas, with exposure to death and natural disasters being the most prevalent; (b) there is no relationship between the six measures of trauma and college grade point average; and (c) none of the six measures of trauma were predictive of college grade point average. The study includes recommendations for HBCU administrators, faculty, and counseling centers.