Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

Grace Telesco

Committee Member

James Nardozzi


African American, group-value model, implicit bias, incarceration rates, Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome, racial inequality


This was a quantitative research study that examined the roles respect and self-esteem play within the African American population. There is no disagreement among social scientists that there is a disproportionate number of African Americans incarcerated. This study attempts to offer one possible explanation. This was a quasi-replication of a study conducted nearly two decades ago using African American adolescent males between the ages of 14 to 18. This research study identified a sample population consisting of African American males and females between the ages of 18 and 50. A cross-sectional analysis was utilized using convenience sampling. The research instruments used in this study included the African American Adolescent Respect Scale as well as the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Both are Likert type instruments that asked participants to indicate to what extent they either agreed or disagreed with statements pertaining to respect from the subcategories of peers, family, and society as well as statements pertaining to their own sense of self-esteem.

A total of 170 completed surveys were collected with (n=100) coming from the anonymous online platform SurveyMonkey and (n=70) coming from 3 detention centers located in rural North East North Carolina. The only additional information requested from participants was their gender and age. Of the total number of surveys that were completed, either online or through face to face contact, there were (n=52) female and (n=118) male respondents. Of those, (n=26) were between the ages of 18 to 24; (n=66) were between the ages of 25 to 34; (n=61) were between the ages of 35 to 44; and (n=17) were between the ages of 45 to 50. This study utilized a theoretical framework of the Group-Value Model.

Analysis showed there was a positive correlation between family and society. There was also a significant relationship between family and self-esteem as well as peers and self-esteem. The standardized coefficients Beta (β) indicated a negative relationship between family and self-esteem and a positive relationship between peers and self-esteem. This would support the literature that found as youths grow into adulthood, a higher level of importance is placed on feeling respected by peers than by family members. It also supports the group-value model in that individuals want to feel as though they are an equal member of a meaningful group. In this case it is the peer group, and when that occurs there are corresponding increases in one’s overall sense of self-worth. Finally, the analysis showed gender had no significant effect when examining the importance of perceived respect between the studied subcategories.