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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Cognition, Learning and Development)
Under the Supervision of Professor Kenneth A. Kiewra.
Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2008
Copyright © 2008 Linda Petroff.


Little is known about predictors of academic success among two-year community college students. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictors of stress, adult attachment, and their interaction on the outcome variables of grade-point average and course completion among 160 two-year community college participants in a small Midwestern community college. Previous research had found relationships among these variables among four-year college students. Thus, it is important to examine these variables as predictors of academic success among community college students. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and three surveys which included scales with established reliability and validity: the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (Armsden & Greenberg, 1989), the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983), and the Cultural Congruity Scale (Gloria & Kurpius, 1996). Negative associations between stress and attachment were revealed. Secondary analyses revealed that stress and the two measures of academic achievement were inversely associated for females. Further analyses revealed that the main effect of stress on gradepoint average was significant for females and that there was a trend toward attachment moderating stress effects for grade-point average. For females, attachment moderated stress effects for course completion. For males, there was a trend toward attachment moderating stress effects for course completion. Potential areas for future studies are discussed.

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