African American millennial college students' appraisal of failed attempts at pursuing student leadership opportunities / by Michael Gary.
Millennials college students report more mental health problems. Research about Millennial college students often neglects the experiences of Millennials college students of color. African American Millennial college students’ experience mental health issues as their third major cause of death by suicide, with the leading predictor being depression. The study explored the lived experiences and coping responses of African American Millennial college students who have faced failed attempts at obtaining student leadership positions, as well as the appraisal processes students utilize while going through this experience. The researcher employed a qualitative method to explore this phenomenon by conducting a thematic analysis using data collected via a semistructured interview questionnaire to determine (a) In what way do African American Millennial college students appraise the lived experience of a failed attempt at a student leadership position? and (b) How do African American Millennial college students at one Historically Black College or University describe their coping responses to a failed attempt at a pursuing a student leadership position? 1. The researcher inquired about Millennials' (a) Character and Desire to Achieve; (b) Experience and Reaction to Not Being Selected; (c) Reaction about Process and Purpose for Student Leadership Roles; (d) Personal Retrospect: Ability to Cope and Express Oneself; (e) Reaction/Response to Loss or Failure; (d) Actualization and Self-Evaluation; and (f) Emotional Support and Closure. The themes that emerged were: (a) Passionate, Outgoing, and Persistent; (b) Disappointed and Self-Deprecating; (c) Desire to Advocate, Inspire, and Influence; (d) Feels Defeated, Doubtful, Inadequate, and Discouraged; (e) Copes Reclusively in Order to Refocus and Move-On; (f) Self-Actualization Leads to Evaluation, Expression, and Blame; and (g) Lacks Emotional Support and Desires Closure. The students were passionate about pursing leadership positions, yet ended up with feelings of anger, hurt, disappointment, incapability, and sadness. Nonetheless, the students did not convey behaviors of entitlement. Participants reported working to resolve feelings of depression and anxiety by withdrawing from campus life (avoidance coping) to gain perspective regarding their failed attempt, which suggests anxiety and depression are prominent among African American Millennial college students.