Date

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Adviser

DeBlaere, Cirleen

Other advisers/committee members

Bishop, Mary J.; Hodges, Jame'l; Spokane, Arnold

Abstract

As of 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that first–generation college students (FGCS) composed almost 50% of the population within higher education (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). Consequently, this unique subgroup of college students are the focus of many post–secondary education studies to determine factors that contribute to their success (Mehta, Newbold, & O'Rourke, 2011; Owens, Lacey, Rawls, & Holbert–Quince, 2010; Pascarella, Wolniak, Pierson, & Terenzini, 2003; Prospero & Vohra-Gupta, 2007). Literature on FGCS calls for an examination of ecological (e.g., community factors) and individual factors relating to college adjustment and well–being as well as the role of general self–efficacy in these links (Dennis, Phinney, & Chuateco, 2005; Plybon, Edwards, Butler, Belgrave, & Allison, 2003). Sampling ethnic and racial minority FGCS and White FGCS at various U.S. American institutions, the present study examined the direct and indirect relations between community factors and college student adjustment and personal well–being (i.e., life satisfaction), through general self–efficacy. Findings suggest that the relations between community factors, self–efficacy, college adjustment, and life satisfaction differ for ethnic and racial minority FGCS and White FGCS. Implications are provided for the design of more effective counseling interventions and higher education programming for ethnically and racially diverse FGCS.

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