Perception of Social Support among African American College Students

Student(s):

Fantasha Lawrence, Senior, Public Health, Metropolitan College of Professional Studies

Faculty Mentor(s):

Dr. Robert Lindsey, Johnson C. Smith University

Discipline:

Health

Abstract:

College students are affected by social support. Students should be knowledgeable about the lack of social support and how it can tremendously affect their dimensions of health (mental and emotional), as well effect their academic performance sometimes. (Brook and Willoughby, 2013). Overall, it appears that positive social support of high quality can enhance resilience to stress, help protect against developing trauma-related psychopathology, decrease the functional consequences of trauma-induced disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and reduce medical morbidity and mortality. (Dimolous, Morgan III, Charney, and Southwick, 2007). Thus far, relatively little information is known about the perception of social support among college students. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to examine the perception of social support among college students. A convenient sample (N = 50) of student-athletes from classes in the Department of Health and Human Performance at a small southeastern private historically black college and university was utilized in the study. The perception of social support was measured using a Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (Zimet, Dahlem, Zimet & Farley, 1988). The responses on the questionnaire ranged from 1 to 5 on a Likert scale with 1 being Almost Never to 5 being Almost Always. Independent t-test and ANOVA were utilized to determine the differences between the demographic categories and the Social Support Skills questions, alpha = .05. Students reported means above 3.9 for the following questions: Question # 5,“I have a special person who is a real source of comfort to me”, M=4.00, Question 7,“I can count on my friends when things go wrong, M=3.96 , Question #9, “I have friends with whom I can share my joys and sorrow, M=3.96 ”,and Question #11,“My family is willing to help me make decision, Mean= 4.26. Independent t test revealed that Males scored higher than females regarding Question #6, “My friends really try to help me.” (t = 3.07 p = .05), and “Question #6, “My friends really try to help me. (t = 3.07, p = .05). Results from this study show similarities to others social support studies and it proves that males score higher than females regarding social support. However, more studies are needed among historically black colleges and universities. Recommendations are made to further examine the perception of social support among college students.

Poster:

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