Turner-Driver, Tonya (2014-06). Spirituality and Race in Career Decision Making: Perspectives of Blacks Who Recently Graduated from Undergraduate Programs. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • The purpose of this study was to examine how racial and spiritual identities influenced career decision making among a select group of Blacks who recently graduated from undergraduate programs at a Predominately White Institution (PWI) in the southwest region of the US. This study used career decision making, Black racial identity, spiritual development, and career calling concepts as its conceptual framework. Semi-structured life story interviews were conducted, transcribed, and analyzed for nine Black individuals, who recently graduated from college and identified themselves as being spiritual. Interview data were analyzed using performative analysis. Two themes, Black racial identity and spiritual identity, emerged from the analysis of the data as the most prominent influences of career decision making. Familial relationships, purpose, values, passions and gifts also emerged as bi-directionally influential to Black racial identity and spiritual identity. From the participants' perspectives, racial and spiritual identities served as a guide in influencing the participants' ways of making sense of and interacting with the world. As a result of this study, a career purpose framework was proposed for use with Blacks as they work through life and career. The findings from this study imply that given the importance participants attributed to Black racial identity and spiritual identity in their decision making, the intersection of these identities should be considered for inclusion in career approaches. Recommendations for further research involve studying Blacks through constructivist career approaches, career concepts of mattering, and examining the proposed career purpose framework are provided.

publication date

  • August 2014