A qualitative grounded theory approach is utilized to study the academic and career trajectories of twenty African American male collegiate students living in San Bernardino, California. There is limited research that explores the positive educational experiences of young adult African American males. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to fill a much needed gap in the literature by providing research on a population of students who are rarely examined from a strengths based approach. Prosocial Development and Achievement Theory explains the major social processes of members of the present study as it relates to their academic and career trajectories. Themes that emerged from the data include constructive hardship and counteraction, conditioned construction of masculinity, and community and family support. Participants were able to utilize adverse experiences as motivation for success. They also sought to negate the recurrence of negative patterns, and counteract negative stereotypes. Participants demonstrated an ability to overcome pressures to adopt a veneer of toughness apart from its potential use to survive the challenges of their community. Additionally, variations of community and family support were important to achievement and life adjustment. Implications for research and practice in field of Family Science are discussed.

LLU Discipline

Family Studies


Counseling and Family Sciences


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Fox, Curtis A.

Second Advisor

Knudson-Martin, Carmen

Third Advisor

Baker, Winetta

Fourth Advisor

Hopkins, Gary

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

San Bernardino, Calif.; Blacks - education; Blacks - psychology; Men - psychology; Men - Education; Socioeconomic Factors; Grounded theory; Social sciences - Statistical methods; Career Choice; Vocational Guidance

Subject - Local

African-American Males; Career Trajectories; Academic trajectories; Qualitative grounded theory



Page Count

149 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives