Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 486–498

Racial Pride and Religiosity among African American Boys: Implications for Academic Motivation and Achievement


    • School of EducationUniversity of Michigan
  • Terrinieka T. Williams
    • School of Public HealthUniversity of Michigan
  • Tabbye M. Chavous
    • School of EducationUniversity of Michigan
Empirical Research

DOI: 10.1007/s10964-011-9675-1

Cite this article as:
Butler-Barnes, S.T., Williams, T.T. & Chavous, T.M. J Youth Adolescence (2012) 41: 486. doi:10.1007/s10964-011-9675-1


The persistent underachievement among African American boys has led to increased empirical inquiry, yet little research considers within-group variation in achievement nor positive youth characteristics that help explain positive achievement outcomes. This study conceptualized culturally-based factors (racial pride and religiosity) as adolescent assets that would promote African American boys’ achievement and also enhance positive effects of other youth assets (positive educational utility beliefs) on achievement. Our sample included 158 adolescent boys (M = 17.08) from a large, socioeconomically diverse suburban community context. Accounting for demographic background variables, educational utility beliefs were positively associated with academic grade performance. A significant educational utility beliefs and racial pride interaction indicated a stronger, positive association of educational utility beliefs with grade performance among boys with higher racial pride relative to those with lower racial pride. Also, there was a stronger positive association between educational utility beliefs and grades for boys reporting lower religious importance, but boys endorsing both lower educational utility beliefs and religious importance were at highest risk for low grade performance. Overall results suggest the importance of considering culturally-based factors in studying achievement motivation processes among ethnic minority adolescents.


Racial identityReligiosityAcademic achievementAdolescence

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011