Perceptions of Discrimination Predict Retention of College Students of Color: Connections with School Belonging and Ethnic Identity

Christia Spears Brown, Ellen L. Usher, Carly Coleman, Jaeyun Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This longitudinal study examines (a) whether perceptions of ethnic discrimination during the first weeks of college predicted later school belonging among first-year college students of color (N = 638) attending a predominantly White institution (PWI), (b) whether school belonging, in turn, predicted retention to the second year, and (c) whether ethnic identity centrality buffered the effects of discrimination on school belonging and academic retention. Participants completed measures of ethnic discrimination and identity near the beginning of the first semester and school belonging at the end of the semester. Academic data from the fall of the second year were obtained from school records. Tests of moderated mediation revealed that perceptions of discrimination at the beginning of college had an indirect effect on retention in the second year of college, as mediated by lowered school belonging, but only for students with low and moderate (but not high) ethnic identity centrality.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • achievement gap
  • discrimination
  • ethnic identity
  • ethnic minority students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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