Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Michael Scheel, Ph.D.

Date of this Version

Summer 7-13-2018


Chatters, L.J. (2018). Exploring the Moderating effects of Racial/Ethnic Socialization, Academic Motivation and African American Racial Identity on the relation between Microaggressions and Mattering of African American Students at Predominantly White Institutions. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


A DISSERTATION Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychology Counseling, Under the Supervision of Dr. Michael J. Scheel. Lincoln, Nebraska: July 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Lawrence Joseph Chatters


African Americans remain underrepresented in higher education (Thompson, Gorin, & Chen, 2006) and experience subtle forms of racism called microaggressions (Sue et. al, 2007). The impact of microaggressions in post-secondary institutions may manifest in the achievement gaps that exist between African American and White people; moreover, they may influence the inequitable treatment of African American students by staff, teaching assistants and faculty (Ancis, Sedlacek, & Mohr, 2000; Becker & Luther, 2002). 108 African American undergraduate students at three Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) participated. The current study employed an online survey to explore relationships of microaggressions, racial/ethnic socialization, African American racial identity, academic motivation, and mattering of African American students at PWIs, including moderating relationships. Generally, results demonstrated the following significant relationships: experiences of microaggressions were negatively related to a sense of belonging on campus and the belief that instructors were invested in their success; feeling valued on campus was significantly related to experiences of microaggressions; receiving racial stereotype messages about the cynicism of white people was negatively related to the perception that they mattered to instructors; receiving messages of racial protection and cultural insight was positively related to experiences of microaggressions. There were a number of significant relationships between mattering and intrinsic and extrinsic academic motivation. Of particular interest was a negative relationship between amotivation, mattering to instructors, and students perception that they do not belong on campus. Intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation was positively related to microaggresisons. Students’ belief that others on campus regarded their culture positively was negatively associated with microaggressions Students’ highly held regard for their African descent was positively associated with microaggressions. Moreover, Black Identity Nationalist Ideology significantly moderated the negative relationship between microaggresisons and mattering to instructors. The findings of the current study are an important contribution to the existing literature regarding the experiences of African American college students at PWIs. Recommendations based on the results of the current study are provided for administrators and clinicians who work with African American college students.

Advisor: Michael J. Scheel, Ph.D.