Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Paul Florin


The purpose of this study was to investigate levels of participation of blacks in community and black organizations. The subjects were 299 black residents, 18 years or older, on 29 blocks and living in a transitional neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee in 1978. The data were collected through 45 minute interviews with each respondent. Three sets of variables were investigated in this study, in two settings, on Specific and one General. The first set of variables, Set A, consisted of traditional demographic and personality variables. The second consisted of cognitive social learning variables operationalized for this study (Set B) and, finally, Set AB consisting of the combined Sets A and B. Each set was analyzed in a discriminant function analysis to discriminate between leaders and members in a block association (a Specific community organization) and to discriminate between high and low participators in community organizations (a more General question). Univariate analyses of the independent variables, chi-squares, and classification analyses were also performed. The analysis for the General community organization question was performed with an n of 299 while the analysis for the Specific block association question was performed with an n of 142 (all of whom were represented in the other sample). An analysis of participation in block associations reveals that in using the Set A variables to distinguish between leaders and members, leaders were identified as more educated, higher in occupation level and did not perceive themselves as being controlled by others. The Set B variables characterized leaders as possessing organizational skills, a higher degree of satisfaction with their block, perceived their block as important, and a higher degree of political efficacy. The Set AB correctly classified a significant number of cases above chance. In the more general question, distinguishing between high and low participators had higher self esteem, owned their own homes, were willing to stay longer, were older in age, and had lived in their residence longer, for Set A. In Set B, high participators are characterized as perceiving themselves as competent and their environment as important, were high in political efficacy, and a sense of citizen duty. A significant number of cases were correctly classified in the classification analysis.



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