Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Yuma I Tomes, PhD, ABA

Second Advisor

George McCloskey, PhD

Third Advisor

Cheryl Thompson


Poverty that is effectively perpetual and resource mismanagement are among the causes of negative outcomes in inner city public education. Learned helplessness is the principal result of the creation of perpetual poverty (the great insult). Manifestations of learned helplessness are endemic among African American elementary school students, but Learned Hopefulness is a potential remedy. The purpose of this study is to teach children (classified as both special education and general education students) in inner city and other schools about Africa’s rich history, about which they know little. Group drumming is culturally relevant, and supports the value of collectivism present in many Eastern cultures. Reflection and self-disclosure are activities that help to reduce stress.

The Child Behavior Checklist Aggression Problem Scale (CBCL) was used to measure learners’ aggressive disruption of the learning session. After the testing period, self-esteem improved and aggressiveness decreased. The current study was quantitative in approach, using the paired-samples, repeated-measures approach. In order to determine if aggressive behaviors and disruptive impulses were reduced, parents and teachers of 32 fifth-grade, 10-year-old boys answered 20 questions from the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6-18 Aggressive Behaviors and Disruptive Impulses survey.

A dependent t-test was conducted in each of the 20 areas identified as reflecting physical, social/emotional, or internalizing and externalizing behaviors. This study provided strong evidence of the benefits of group drumming to make education accessible and meaningful to children. Low cost and accessible, drumming can be free style or follow ancient rhythms from almost every continent.

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Psychology Commons