African American Graduate Student Perspectives of the Advisory Working Alliance in Cross-racial Dyads: Examining Cultural Mistrust as a Moderating Factor

Open Access
Whaley, Eanah Maurayah
Graduate Program:
Counseling Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 25, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Kathleen Bieschke, Dissertation Advisor
  • Dr Mary Mc Clanahan, Committee Member
  • Keith B Wilson, Committee Member
  • Dorothy H Evensen, Committee Member
  • African-American
  • Advisory Working Alliance
  • Cultural Mistrust
  • Graduate Students
  • Cross-Racial Dyads
  • Advising Relationship
Although the representation of African Americans obtaining doctoral degrees has increased, the representation of African Americans in tenure track faculty positions has not. A potential explanation that has been offered for this disparity is the difficulty many minority students have in establishing successful programs of research. As such, faculty mentoring has been highlighted as an important resource for minority graduate students. Previous research has demonstrated links between positive graduate level advising experiences and variables such as attitudes towards research and research self-efficacy. Recently, Schlosser et al. (2011) have posited a Multiculturally Infused Model of Graduate Advising Relationships which attends to both the process and outcome of advising, with particular attention to the potential effects of multicultural variables such as cultural mistrust (Terrell& Terrell, 1981) on formation and maintenance of the advisory working alliance. The purpose of the current investigation was to explore the applicability of certain tenants the Multiculturally Infused Model of Graduate Advising Relationships for a sample of African American doctoral students from diverse fields of study. Specifically, the current study examined cultural mistrust as a moderator of the positive relationships expected between the advisory working alliance and research training outcome variables. Participants were 195 African American doctoral students attending doctoral programs at research intensive institutions. Results of the current investigation showed that variables shown to contribute variance to the Advisory Working Alliance (AWA) in previous studies were also supported in the present study (i.e., perceived availability of advisor, similarity of research interests with advisor, frequency of meeting with advisor). Variance in research self-efficacy and research outcome expectations was explained by the AWA. The AWA did not significantly explain variance in interest in research. Cultural mistrust did not serve as a moderator for the AWA research self-efficacy or research outcome expectations link. Post hoc analyses showed that only one AWA subscale, identification-individuation, contributed to variance in the IRQ. Lastly, post-hoc analyses revealed that cultural mistrust also did not moderate between pairing method and the AWA or similarity of interests and the AWA.