African American youth -- Psychology, Resilience (Personality trait) in adolescence, Rural African Americans -- Psychology, African American male youth, Citizenship practices


Effective citizenship practice in the United States has several important characteristics, which can provide the foundation for young people to access opportunity in employment and education. A continuum of policies, programs, and strategies meant to alleviate poverty have central themes of providing education and vocational opportunities, and yet large numbers of young minority people remain disenfranchised with no chance to succeed. There is even greater loss in the population of African American males who otherwise could achieve stable and strong economic life styles. Large unemployment and under-employment of African American males is documented through U.S. data sources where declining rates of labor force participation of black males is starkly evident (U.S. Census 2000). Geographic influences for minority youth also increase limited access to educational and employment opportunities (Slack & Jenson, 2002). What is clear is that minority youth are faced with a disproportionately difficult access to educational and employment opportunities as a result of diminished community social support, which should be the encouraging force in directing their goal achievements. Resiliency, as a strengths-based perspective, gained convincing prominence through the 1970s and 1980s. Initiative, self-control, self-esteem, and attachment are four protective factors of resiliency. Risk and protective factors are vital for intervention practices with individuals, families and communities. This study utilized protective factors that promote the skills and abilities necessary for encouraging resiliency and creating effective citizenship. iii Resiliency and the awareness of citizenship practices may bolster African American male youth successes in educational and employment opportunities. Youth who consistently and routinely engage in employment can increase the well-being of themselves, their families, and their communities. This study utilized a self-administered survey design to obtain responses from rural African Americans male youth, between the ages of 12 and 19 inclusive, to determine their resiliency skills and their awareness of citizenship practices (p=.005, one-tailed). In a pre-post test for significance, participants were asked to take a citizenship practices survey after the viewing of the video. This paired t-test displayed statistically significant results (p= .0015, t= 2.998, df =98). It is important to examine resiliency in rural African American male youth and how that resiliency interacts with the awareness of citizenship practices. There is little known about how rural African American, male youth perceive effective citizenship based on their level of resiliency. African American youth are better served toward successful employment and education through programs that are designed to increase citizenship practices awareness. There is reason to believe that citizenship practices, by way of training and community affirmation, with an infusion of resiliency skill techniques modeling, could open the doors wider for African American male youth who, for some, suffer from poverty, but for most suffer from the lack of free and open educational access which inhibits viable entry level employment opportunities.


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Graduation Date





Van Hook, Mary


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs








Release Date

January 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs, Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic