Purpose: Drawing from Afrocentric Youth Developmental Frameworks, this study examines how Afrocentric defined values of collectivism, religiosity, and African identity are associated with the career aspirations of YBMs. In doing so, the present study is among the first to empirically evaluate the relationship between an Afrocentric identity and aspirations in young Black males.
Methods. Upon approval by a university institutional review board, data for the study was drawn from Qualtrics Panel to obtain a sample of self-identifying Black males between the ages of 17-25(n=300). Most participants identified ethnically as African American (95%). Participants reported their sense of collectivism (6 items, α = .84), religiosity (9 items, α = .81), and African heritage identity (6 items, α = .77). Finding no violations of assumptions, multiple regression was used to assess the association between collectivism, religiosity, and African identity with career aspirations (5 items, α = .85) after controlling for age, household income, and reported education level.
Results: Findings suggest a positive association between YBMs career aspirations and Afrocentric values accounting for 41% of variance in career and educational aspirations in Black males. Specifically, participants’ sense of value of collectivism over individualism (B=.45), adherence to religious attendance/participation, prayer, and their belief in God as a causal agent to their lives (B=.27), and positive overall sense of feelings of connection to their African heritage (B=.22), was associated with participants’ desire to make a lasting impact through their future careers and to achieve higher levels of education in their career choices.
Implications: Findings support previous theoretical literature that Afrocentrism and its related factors are important indicators of positive development for YBMs. More specifically, the bolstering of Afrocentric values and connections to programs that promote Afrocentrism may provide important protective mechanisms for YBMs coming of age in socially inequitable environments. Findings also support the need for future research within social work to test findings with larger samples and continue to advance research that honors the cultural connections of Black communities while advancing social work’s mission to honor diversity and culture to inform practice.