Goal-striving stress and the mental health of college-educated Black American men: the protective effects of system-blame

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2011 Oct;81(4):507-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.2011.01116.x.


The present study examined the relationship between goal-striving stress and well-being in a survey of 399 college-educated Black American men who were members of a Black fraternal organization. Regression analyses revealed that goal-striving stress was associated with decreased psychological well-being, controlling for demographics and various psychosocial factors. When asked to explain their failure to reach life goals, half of the men attributed setbacks to racial discrimination. The association of goal-striving stress with diminished well-being was stronger among those who did not attribute setbacks to race than among those who did. These findings suggest that even with material success, Black men face blocked opportunities that could be consequential to their well-being.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status*
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Perception*
  • Stress, Psychological