Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Shawn C.T. Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Chelsea Williams

Third Advisor

Dr. Andrew Daire


African American students are consistently reported as having among the lowest high school graduation rates when compared to other races (U.S. Department of Education, 2018). While many studies have sought to explore the potential risks of high school dropout, the intention of this study is to examine the factors that support the exemplary resilience of those students who do complete high school. The present study adopts the framework of García Coll et al.’s, (1996) integrative model of developmental competencies in minority children, as it seeks to identity whether and how contextual (spiritual, educational, cultural); relational (caregiver psychological and physical relationship quality); and individual factors (academic self-efficacy) influence African American individuals to complete high school. To analyze the implications of the research questions, I propose the use of a double moderation and moderated moderation approach to determine the influence of the predictors on high school completion. The findings of this study provided partial support for the associated hypotheses. Specifically, although the dimension of contextual resilience did not emerge as a unique predictor of African American students’ high school completion, the interaction between contextual factors and relational factors revealed that at higher levels of relational factors, increased contextual factors are associated with an increased likelihood of high school completion. Importantly, the findings also suggest that at lower levels of relational factors, increased contextual factors are associated with a decreased likelihood of high school completion among African American students. Implications and future directions are discussed.


© Lesley Blair Winchester

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