Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Schultheiss, Donna

Subject Headings

Self-management (Psychology), Self-control, African American students -- United States, Academic achievement -- United States -- Psychological aspects, regulatory resource depletion, self-regulation, acting White, academic self concept of Black students


Researchers have long been interested in the academic underachievement and disengagement of many African American students. Fordham and Ogbu (1986) offered the acting White phenomenon as one way to understand the problem. Fordham (1996) found that, in order to avoid being accused of acting White, some Black high achievers limit their academic abilities, particularly around Black low achieving students. Black high achievers can also encounter psychological costs as a result of limiting their academic prowess. There is some evidence, according to regulatory resource depletion theory, that altering one's normal thoughts, actions, or feelings in order to serve present circumstances, as some Black high achievers have been found to do, can negatively impact executive function. The purpose of this study was to determine if regulatory resource depletion theory is a fitting psychological mechanism at the root of what some research has found regarding the dynamics of Black high and low achievers. Thirty-eight high achieving Black students participated in an experimental design study to test the hypothesis that interaction with a low achieving Black student would result in lower scores on an executive function test as compared to those who interacted with another high achieving Black student. A 2 X 2 factorial ANOVA did not support the hypothesis. Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed

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