Institutional Identity and Self-Esteem among African American Males in College

by Brandon Crosby; Bryant T. Marks; Chauncey D. Smith; Dominique L. Thomas

Jul 1, 2012

This article explores the relationship between self-esteem and institutional identity among 411 Black male college freshmen. Institutional identity, especially a sense of belonging, did correlate with self-esteem at both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominately White Institutions (PWIs), though for different reasons.

  • Black students with low self-esteem have a higher chance of confirming the negative stereotype about academic performance.
  • Black students who felt a sense belonging to their institution, at both HBCUs and PWIs, were more likely to have high self-esteem.
  • Colleges and universities should be sure to create environments that boost students' self-esteem by being welcoming and affirming for all.
  • Institutions should place more emphasis on students having a clear understanding of the physical and human assets of their institutions.
  • The higher education community should pay closer attention to how the attitudes and perceptions of Black males impact and are impacted by the college experience.