Griffin, Q. D., & Korchin, S. J. (1980). Personality competence in black male adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 9(3), 211-227.
This study explores the nature and antecedents of personality competence in Black male adolescents. Community college teachers were first asked to describe, in interview and Q-Sorts, the qualities they believed characterized competent young Black men. There was considerable agreement between Black and White teachers, and the ratings of both correlated highly with the California Q-Sort description of the Optimally Adjusted Personality described by White clinicians. In the second phase of the study, particularly competent young Black males, nominated by these teachers, were compared with average Black students on the same Q-Sort, a vocabulary test, and Offer’s Self-Image Questionnaire. In general, the personality qualities of the two groups are more alike than different, though the more competent males are more inner- than outer-directed; more sensitive to personal qualities than to outward appearances and their own acceptability to others. They are more ambitious, more motivated for success, and seem to strive more vigorously, perhaps even to sidestep some moral precepts (indicated by lower Offer Morality score). The competent young Black males differ importantly, although not always significantly, from their more average peers in being earlier and more thoroughly committed to a work ethic; they come from more stable homes; have more social contact with the White culture; and are more likely to be first or only children. Although the study intended to contrast more and less competent adolescents within the Black culture, it is speculated that both the nature and antecedents of competence are probably transracial. Additional analyses show that competence can be empirically distinguished from social desirability, though the two concepts are related.
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