Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


First-generation college students; Academic achievement;


Academic performance is the most targeted outcome used in examining the experience of college students. For first-generation college students (FGCS), academic performance can be greatly influenced by psychological factors that the student themselves, their continuing generation college student (CGCS) peers, or their college faculty may not be aware of (Destin et al., 2017). The purpose of the current study was to analyze the relationship between generation status, individual motives, SES identity, belongingness, and academic behaviors. The sample was recruited through a listserv (first-generation college students only) and through the University participant pool, which included 236 first-generation college students (89 from the participant pool, 147 from the listserv) and 181 CGCS from the participant pool. I found no significant effect of generation status on independent motives or interdependent motives. There was a significant relationship between independent motives reported and belongingness among the full sample. The relationship between interdependent motives reported and belongingness was not significant for the full sample. I found that continuing-generation college students reported significantly lower Sensitivity to SES Identity Discrepancy (SSID) than both first-generation college student samples. There was a significant negative relationship between SSID and belongingness, and significantly positive relationship between belongingness and academic behaviors. Finally, using a mediation analysis, I found that the mediators SSID and belongingness, partially mediated the relationship between generation status and academic behaviors. This study offers a more detailed assessment of possible differences among FGCS and CGCS in important psychological factors while iii being able to compare academic behaviors, motives, and belongingness between these groups, offering a closer look into the social processes involved in college success.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Nicholas Schwab, Chair, Thesis Committee.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (x, 92 pages)

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