Academic journal article Journal of Intercultural Disciplines

The Impact of Cultural Misorientation and Social Support in the Substance Use of African American College Students

Academic journal article Journal of Intercultural Disciplines

The Impact of Cultural Misorientation and Social Support in the Substance Use of African American College Students

Article excerpt

Review of Literature

The conceptual and theoretical framework for this study is based upon an African-centered paradigm that equates normative Black mental health functioning with cognitive behaviors that are harmonious with the genuine necessities and social obligations of the overall African community (Baldwin, 1985). The African-centered paradigm consists of the quality of thoughts and practices rooted in the culture of African people (Nobles & Goddard, 1993). The African-centered paradigm obtains the rational and theoretical foundations by which the political, scientific, and moral criterion for validating the African reality is constructed. In essence, the African-centered paradigm should refer to the history, traditions, and life experiences of African people as the core of one's analyses. The definitive goal of this model is to optimize the augmentation, progression, and survival of the African community as a collective group (Baldwin, 1985). Prevention and treatment programs for African Americans using an African-centered approach had some success over time (Aktan, 1999; Resnicow et al., 2000). Such programs that implement an African worldview and philosophy in their design are presumed to ameliorate the prevention and treatment of African Americans impacted by various adverse conditions such as substance use (Belgrave et al., 1993; Nobles & Goddard, 1993), psychological dysfunctions (Azibo & Dixon, 1998), and HIV/AIDS (Foster et al., 1993) in society.

Hence, the findings of this study may be informing to the enhancement of these programs by way of empirical research. It is advanced here, that cultural identity (feelings of attachments and affiliation towards one's cultural group) and social support (perception of one's available assistance from others) are correlated with substance use for many African American college students. Furthermore, it is also theorized that institutional affiliation is an essential component, along with social support and cultural identity in influencing various degrees of substance use. One rationale for this model is that African American students attending PWIs would be more likely to report adverse experiences from a social context than African American students at HBCUs (Rogers & Summers, 2008; Solorzano, 2000).

While substance use is widespread throughout the general United States population among persons aged 12 or older (9.4%), it is considerably increasing on college campuses throughout the nation (22.3%) (National Survey on Drug Use and Health [NSDUH], 2013). Research suggested that African American college students attending HBCUs drink alcohol at similar rates (1.4 drinks per week) as African American college students attending PWIs (1.7 drinks per week) (Kapner, 2008). Previous studies have also indicated that African American college students consume substances at lower rates than Caucasian American college students and report fewer problems resulting from alcohol use (O'Malley & Johnston, 2002), but there is limited knowledge about substance use behaviors in correlation with institutional factors among Black students attending predominately White institutions and historically Black colleges and universities (Neville, Heppner, Ji & Thye, 2004).

Customary models for human development indicate that people become more advanced in environments where they feel safe, regarded for, and able to socialize with others (Allen, 1992). According to Benton (2001), the campus environment is one of several critical concerns for Black college students' academic success. Traditional research concerning HBCUs and PWIs suggest that African American college students at HBCUs tend to adjust better intellectually than those at PWIs (Fleming, 1985; Davis, 1998; Roebuck & Murty, 1993). Additional studies support the evidence of HBCUs role in the education of African American college students through their culturally strong educational environments (Allen, 1992; Davis, 1991; Astin, Tsui, & Avalos, 1996). …

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