My research program uses an emic approach in the area of African American psychology. The majority of my empirical studies, theoretical/conceptual writings, and scholarly presentations are concentrated in two areas of inquiry: 1) racial and ethnic identity development, and 2) academic self-concept and academic achievement. More recently I started exploring correlates of mental health, including religiosity, perceived discrimination, the impostor phenomenon, and minority status stress among ethnic minorities generally, and African Americans specifically.

A very proud moment for Black students and their families at UT Black Graduation ceremony.

A very proud moment for Black students and their families at UT Black Graduation ceremony.

A theme of much of my research is understanding the psychological and environmental factors that impact African American student achievement. Because I received my graduate degrees in colleges of education, my research has increasingly focused on the interplay of psychology and education.  I apply psychological theories of the self and motivation to advance our understanding of one of the most pressing educational issues of our time: the underachievement of African American students.

African American students constitute only 5% of the enrollment at the University of Texas.  Consequently, I have become increasingly interested in conducting multicultural research with ethnically diverse samples.  One focus is racial and cultural variables as correlates of mental health.

Regardless of the sample demographics, sensitivity to cultural factors as central, not peripheral, to psychological inquiry is  characteristic of my research. By training and discipline, I am a counseling psychologist, but the varied nature of my interests demands a multidisciplinary approach. Thus, my work spans counseling, social, and educational psychology, student development, higher education, and African American studies. 

Representative Publications

Impostor Phenomenon

  • Cokley, K., Smith, L., Bernard, D., Hurst, A., Jackson, S., Stone, S., & ... Roberts, D. (2017). Impostor feelings as a moderator and mediator of the  relationship between perceived discrimination and mental health among  racial/ethnic minority college students. Journal Of Counseling  Psychology, 64(2), 141-154.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
  • McClain, S., Beasley, S. T., Jones, B., Awosogba, O., Jackson, S., & Cokley, K. (2016). An examination of the impact of racial and ethnic identity, impostor feelings, and minority status stress on the mental health of Black college students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling And Development, 44(2), 101-117.
  • Cokley, K., Awad, G., Smith, L., Jackson, S., Awosogba, O., Hurst, A., Stone, S., Blondeau, L., & Roberts, D. (2015). The Roles of Gender Stigma Consciousness, Impostor Phenomenon and Academic Self-Concept in the Academic Outcomes of Women and Men. Sex Roles, 73, 414-426.
  • Cokley, K., McClain, S., Enciso, A., & Martinez, M. (2013).   An Examination of Minority Status Stress, Impostor Feelings and Mental Health Among Ethnic Minority College Students.  Journal of  Multicultural Counseling and Development, 41(2). 82-95.

Racial and Ethnic Identity

  • Cokley, K., & Vandiver, B. (2011). Ethnic and Racial Identity. In J. Hansen & E. Altmaier (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Counseling Psychology, pp. 291-325, Oxford Publishers. 
  • Cokley, K., &  Chapman, C. (2009). Racial Identity Theory: Adults. In H. Neville, B. Tynes, &  S. Utsey (Eds.), Handbook of African American Psychology, pp. 283-298, Thousands Oak, CA: Sage Publishers. 
  • Cokley, K. (2007). Critical Issues in the Measurement of Ethnic and Racial Identity: A referendum on the state of the field. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 54, 224-234.
  • Cokley, K. (2005). Racial(ized) Identity, Ethnic Identity, and Afrocentric Values: Conceptual and methodological challenges in understanding African American identity. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52, 517-526. 

Academic Achievement and Academic Self-Concept

  • Cokley, K., & Moore, P. (2007). Moderating and Mediating Effects of Gender and Psychological Disengagement on the Academic Achievement of African American College Students. Journal of Black Psychology, 33, 169-187.
  • Cokley, K. (2006).  The Impact of Racialized Schools and Racist (Mis)Education on African American Students’ Academic Identity. In M. Constantine & D. Sue (Eds.) Addressing  Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings, pp. 127-144. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Cokley, K. (2003). What Do We Know about the Motivation of African American College Students?  Challenging the “anti-intellectual myth”,Harvard Educational Review, 73, 524-558.
  • Cokley, K. (2000). An Investigation of Academic Self-Concept and Its Relationship to Academic Achievement in African American College Students.  Journal of Black Psychology, 26(2), 148-164. 
  • Cokley, K. (2002). Ethnicity, Gender, and Academic Self-Concept: a Preliminary Examination of Academic Disidentification and Implications for Psychologists. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 8, 378-388.

Racial Identity, Ethnic Identity and Academic Achievement

  • Cokley, K., McClain, S., Jones, M., & Johnson, S. (2011). A Preliminary Examination of Academic Disidentification, Racial Identity, and Academic Achievement among African American Adolescents. The High School Journal, 95, pp. 54-68.
  • Cokley, K., & Chapman, C. (2008). The Roles of Ethnic Identity, Anti-White Attitudes, and Academic Self-Concept in African American Student Achievement. Social Psychology of Education: An International Journal, 11, 349-365. 

Mental Health

  • Cokley, K., Beasley, S., Bullock, A., Chapman-Hilliard, C., Cody, B., Jones, B., Taylor, D. (2012). The Moderating Role of Gender in the Relationship Between Religiosity and Mental Health Among Black American College Students. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 16(5), 445-462.
  • Cokley, K., Garcia, D., Tran, K., Hall, B., & Rangel, A. (2012). The Moderating Role of Ethnicity in the Relation Between Religiousness and Mental Health    Among Ethnically Diverse College Students.  Journal of Religion and Health, 51(3), pp. 890-907.

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