Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Herlihy, Barbara

Second Advisor

Watson, Zarus

Third Advisor

Alexander, Angela


The purpose of this study was to evaluate African American sons' perceptions of their fathers' influence on their decision whether to pursue higher education. This research has qualitatively explored the connection between fathers' influence and sons' decision whether to pursue higher education. Data collection consisted of a preliminary focus group discussion, two rounds of individual interviews, and a post focus group discussion. Themes that emerged from participants' stories were: (a) similar definitions of the term"father", (b) perceptions of fathers' educational level vs. being a role model, (c) thoughts regarding fathers' emotions and masculinity, (d) beliefs that fathers have an influence on sons' decisions whether to pursue higher education, (e) similar beliefs toward higher education, (f) justification for their level of education, (g) feelings of college being an inconceivable thought for some males, and (h) similar spiritual beliefs. Data obtained from interviews and focus group discussions resulted in The Black Father-Son Median Theory.


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