Defense Date

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Fantasy Lozada

Abstract

Theoretical frameworks suggest that African Americans express emotion in context-specific ways that are unique to their familial socialization experience (Boykin, 1986; Dunbar, Leerkes, Coard, Supple, & Calkins, 2017). However, less is known about how African Americans express emotion across familial and public contexts. The current study was interested in exploring the contextual differences in emotion expression among 188 African American/Black college students from 3 different types of college campuses: predominantly White (i.e., PWI), historically Black (i.e., HBCU), and racially diverse. Data were collected via an online survey in which students reported the school they attend, their emotion expression in the family and on campus, and their experiences with racial discrimination on campus. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was conducted to test the exploratory hypothesis of contextual differences in emotion expression. Five profiles of African American students’ emotion expression in the family and on campus emerged: High Positive and Negative Submissive Expression (n = 49; 26%), More Family Expression (n = 8; 5%), Low Family and Campus Expression (n = 24; 13%), More Campus Positive and Negative Dominant Expression (n = 45; 24%), and More Positive and Less Negative Dominant Expression (n = 63; 33%). While college campus racial composition type was not a significant predictor of profiles of emotion expression, Wald chi-square = 8.83, p = .360, racial discrimination was, Wald chi-square = 1.00, p = .041. Specifically, African American students who reported more frequent experiences with racial discrimination were more likely to be in the Less Family Expression/More Campus Expression profile than in the More Positive and Negative Submissive Expression profile. Additionally, the More Campus Positive and Negative Dominant Expression profile was significantly different than both the Low Family and Campus Expression profile and the More Positive and Less Negative Dominant Expression profile. In other words: racial discrimination experiences were associated with less expression of emotion in the family and more expression of emotion in the campus context (particularly positive emotion). These results are largely consistent with African American mothers’ emotion expression in the family (i.e., greater positive emotion relative to negative emotion). Furthermore, they contribute to this literature in that African American youth express emotion differently in the family context compared to campus, particularly in the face of racial discrimination. Future studies should continue to investigate contextual emotion expression as it may have implications for the transition of emerging adults during the college experience.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

12-12-2019

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