Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Committee Director

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Delanyard Robinson

Committee Member

Carretta Cooke

Committee Member

Patricia Clark-Nicolas

Committee Member

Alan Rountree


African-American students (mostly Freshmen) enrolled for the first year at a four-year university completed information about the racial composition of their high school, family income, living arrangements, and stressor prior to entering school. At two times during the first semester they completed measures of social support, network orientation and adaptation to college. Information about Grade Point Average (GPA) for the following term and attendance at the University one year later were also obtained. Racial composition of high school had some affect on social support at the university: Students from integrated and mainly Black high schools reported more social support satisfaction than students from mainly White high schools, but students from mainly Black high schools reported higher level of Mistrust of social support. Adaptation to college was not affected by racial composition of high school. Multiple regression analyses predicting adaptation to college, GPA, and attendance one year later revealed that adaptation to college was predicted by satisfaction with social support, a less negative network orientation, and less stress prior to entering the university. GPA was predicted by less stress and living at home. Attendance at the university one year later (retention) was predicted by GPA, adaptation to college, smaller network size, higher family income, and living on campus. Sex of participants influenced only the reporting of stress; females reported more stressful experiences prior to their first semester. The implications of these results on adaptation to college, academic success, and retention of African-American university students are discussed.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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