Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Rosemary Mennuti, Ed.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

George McCloskey, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gerard Figurelli, Ph.D.


Identifying risk and protective factors has been at the cornerstone in resilience research in education. Although this focus has contributed to our understanding of the personal traits inherent in academically resilient students, it fails to expound relationships existing outside of the individual. This study aims to uncover the interrelationship between individual characteristics and the environments that help create academic resilience. Twelve Hispanic-American male inner-city at-risk students, considered resilient, were interviewed about perceived factors leading to their academic success. A qualitative analysis was used to analyze the data, using Strauss & Corbin's (1998) Grounded Theory Approach. The themes that emerged were categorized under school and community characteristics, home environment and individual traits. The ideal home environment consisted of the presence of at least one caring parent who placed an emphasis on education. The school characteristics included personnel who served as mentors and placed high expectations on the students; this was combined with a strong emphasis on sports and participation in extra-curricular activities. The individual characteristics included determination, leadership, dependability, generosity and sense of humor. Despite the fact that the community was underprivileged, there were organizations that provided extra-curricular activities and volunteering opportunities in which the students might participate. The conclusion seemed to be that it is the interaction between home, school and environment that helps to unfold academic resilience. Implications for schools suggest that interventions for teaching academic resilience should include a systemic approach, whereby aspects of the home, community and school are taken into consideration. Future recommendations are made, suggesting that the focus should be on the interaction between and among these settings, rather than on examination of individual characteristics and risk and protective factors in isolation.