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Suejung Han

Mentor Department



Purpose: Racial disparity in academic performance has been well-documented (e.g., Oyserman & Lewis, 2017), but reasons that explain such disparity need more scholarly attention as they could be intervention targets. Among other psychological mechanisms, this study examined two socio-cognitive barriers of low self-efficacy and negative outcome expectations (Bandura, 1986). They were operationalized as low academic self-efficacy (one’s conception of their ability to perform academic achievement; Gerardi, 2005) and learned helplessness (a sense of lack of control over one’s actions due to perceived repeated negative outcomes; Smallheer, 2011). I hypothesized that racial membership (i.e., White vs. students of color) would be associated with GPA via differences in academic self-efficacy and learned helplessness. Procedure: A sample of 165 college students (122 Whites, 33 students of color) participated in the online survey of this study. The mean age was 19.04 (SD=1.47). The sample included 142 females, 20 males, 1 non-binary, and 2 not reporting gender. The survey consisted of Learned Helplessness Scale (Smallheer, 2011), College Academic Self-Efficacy Scale (Owen & Froman, 1988), and GPA/demographic questions.Results: Data collection is in progress and complete results will be reported at the conference if accepted. A preliminary one-way ANOVA using SPSS showed White students scored higher on academic self-efficacy, F(1, 119) = 7.16, p = .008, and GPA, F(1, 160)=6.42, p=.01, than students of color, but there was no significant mean difference on learned helplessness, F(1,153) = .49, p=.49. A path analysis with AMOS 22.0 revealed a marginal to adequate fit to the data, χ2(1)=2.34, p=.13, CFI = .97, RMSEA = .09, 90% CI = .00, .25. Racial membership was associated with GPA via academic self-efficacy (racial membership-academic self-efficacy path β = .21, p = .013, academic self-efficacy-GPA path β = .41, p


Authors: Mary Wallace, Suejung Han

Academic Self-Efficacy, Learned Helplessness, and GPA Among White and Racially Minoritized Students

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