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The college experience: Exploring the relationships among student socioeconomic background, experiences of classism, and adjustment to college

Autumn Loreene Backhaus, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between (1) student Socioeconomic (SES) background and adjustment to college, (2) SES background and experiences of classism and (3) experiences of classism and adjustment to college. It was predicted that (1) students from low-SES backgrounds would be less well adjusted than their peers from higher-SES backgrounds, (2) students from low-SES backgrounds would report higher levels of experiences of classism than higher-SES peers and (3) experiences of classism at college would be negatively related to overall adjustment to college. Study participants were first year college students from a large Midwestern University.^ The data was analyzed using multiple SES variables as predictors in exploratory regression modeling with multiple criterion variables related to college adjustment, and experiences of classism. Correlational analyses were used to examine the relationship between experiences of classism and adjustment to college.^ The results of the study indicate that students from low-SES backgrounds are less well adjusted academically and personal-emotionally, as well as having less attachment to their university than their peers from higher-SES backgrounds. However no relationship was found between SES and overall adjustment to college and although a relationship was found between social adjustment and SES, the direction of that relationship cannot be determined. Additionally, the results indicate that students from low-SES backgrounds were more likely to report experiencing all three types of classism (institutional, citational, and interpersonal via discounting) than were their peers from higher-SES backgrounds. Finally, students who reported experiencing institutional or interpersonal via discounting types of classism were associated with lower levels of overall adjustment to college while no relationship was found between citational classism and overall adjustment to college. The implications and limitations of this study as well as directions for future research will be discussed.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Backhaus, Autumn Loreene, "The college experience: Exploring the relationships among student socioeconomic background, experiences of classism, and adjustment to college" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3389644.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3389644

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