Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Renee V. Galliher


The Appalachian region has long been regarded as an economically disadvantaged area, with a lower percentage of individuals pursuing higher education than in the nation as a whole . Improving the educational status of residents of Appalachia may foster some economic transition in the region, shifting the employment focus from an unskilled labor emphasis to more professional and career opportunities. Better understanding of the influences in the decision processes of Appalachian students is needed in order to design and implement intervention programs to increase enrollment in higher education. The concept of possible selves is introduced as a way to examine individuals' goals and beliefs about themselves in future contexts. Other factors (academic preparation, family, and culture) influencing the decision regarding college attendance were considered and evaluated in relation to possible selves. A model was developed to examine the influences of academic preparation, family, and culture on Appalachian students' educational goals and aspirations, as they are mediated by possible selves. It was hypothesized that the mediated influences model sufficiently predicts students' plans for college attendance. Statistical analysis and a revision of the original model were conducted, and results indicate that the model was adequately supported. Interpretations for these results were offered, and implications and limitations of the study were discussed.



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