African American Women’s Adjustment to College: The Impact of Campus Climate and Social Support

Sudanë Firestar Del Valle, Fordham University


A post-secondary degree is frequently a pathway to career advancement and higher earning potential, and although African American women’s college enrollment has increased substantially, their graduation rates have not experienced comparable growth. Prior research demonstrates that social adjustment to college predicts persistence and attrition. It also shows that students of color experience additional stressors at predominantly white institutions beyond those typically encountered by all students. Furthermore, intersectionality indicates that Black women face unique challenges as members of multiple marginalized groups. Therefore, this study explored the extent to which campus racial and gender climates predicted social adjustment to college and whether the intersection of these variables had a distinctive effect on Black women’s social adjustment. Although past studies have also demonstrated the value of peer social support in relation to persistence, its relevance for African American women’s college completion has been mixed. Consequently, this dissertation also investigated the extent to which peer social support contributes to African American women’s social adjustment. Results of a multiple regression revealed that campus racial-gender climate and social support were significant, positive predictors of social adjustment to college. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Higher education|Womens studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Del Valle, Sudanë Firestar, "African American Women’s Adjustment to College: The Impact of Campus Climate and Social Support" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29318758.