Identity development in black undergraduate women
Porter, Christa Janell
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This constructivist grounded theory study conceptualized how Black undergraduate women enrolled at a predominately White institution (PWI) developed their identity as Black women. The examination of their notions of self and explanations of social interactions with others resulted in the co-construction of a theoretical model of their identity development. During two rounds of individual semi-structured interviews, 13 undergraduate women discussed their identities as Black women, the intersections of and relationships between their identities, who and what influenced their identity development, their interactions with other people, and the challenges they have encountered while attending a PWI. Data were analyzed using grounded theory methods. The focused and axial coding process revealed 82 themes that were then condensed into 17 categories and generated the results of this study. Participants’ ability to define and articulate their identity as Black women in relation to their environment and interactions with other people varied. As a result of the experiences of the participants in this study, the identity development in Black undergraduate women encompasses both pre-collegiate and collegiate socialization, articulation of identity, and interactions with others. Central to development is whether Black women are able to articulate the intersections of their identities. The influences of media and role modeling throughout various stages of Black women’s lives were also relevant. The implications for practice and future research relating to Black undergraduate women are discussed.