Date of Award:

5-2019

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department:

Psychology

Committee

Gretchen Gimpel Peacock

Committee

Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez

Committee

Maryellen McClain Verdoes

Abstract

College students who are from low income families, have disabilities, or are the first in their family to attend college are more likely to struggle socially and academically in a college setting. Promoting college graduation within these disadvantaged populations is critical for increased life wellness. Previous researchers studied to see if when students wrote about their personal beliefs if it would lead to higher levels of academic confidence and better academic performance (as measured by grades). This study expanded upon those previous studies to look specifically at whether a values-affirming writing intervention provided to at risk students in a federally funded college opportunity program would affect academic confidence, semester math grades, and overall semester academic performance (as measured by GPA). While there was no impact on semester math grades or overall semester academic performance, the values-affirming writing intervention did benefit students’ academic confidence. This study suggests more research on writing about personal beliefs within a federally funded college opportunity program may be beneficial in identifying methods of improving retention rates and college degree attainment for certain populations of at-risk students. A values-affirming intervention for at-risk students may be one protective factor universities can implement to help these students succeed.

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