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Illuminating intersections of race and psychosocial tasks for emerging adults in the African American student network

Tabitha Grier-Reed 1, Alex Ajayi 2, Danielle Cotton3, Robert Wilson 4


African American emerging adulthood is an understudied area of research. Adapting consensual qualitative research methods, we explored discussions across 702 emerging adults in the African American Student Network (AFAM). AFAM is an educational/counseling intervention designed to support Black students in school. Over an 11-year time period, discussions centered on five psychosocial tasks: navigating college life, understanding racism, exploring identity, standing up for justice, and finding love. Intersectionality was a meta-struggle, where students questioned how their individual identities intersected with a Black collective identity. Highlighting the centrality of race in African American emerging adulthood, this study illuminates the ways in which college students grappled with the racialized contexts in which they found themselves.


College life; African American students; racism; racial justice; black identity

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