Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Lindsay J. Hastings

Date of this Version



Sunderman, H. M. (2020). The development of generativity among college student leaders who mentor: A growth curve analysis [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


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: Human Sciences Leadership, Under the Supervision of Professor Lindsay J. Hastings. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2020

Copyright 2020 Hannah M. Sunderman


The purpose of this longitudinal study was to examine generativity development among college student leaders who mentor. There were four research objectives: (a) the nature of change in generativity among college student leaders who serve as a Leadership Mentor for three years, (b) the predictive relationship between generative concern and generative behavior at Time One, Time Two, and Time Three, (c) the moderating effect of having been or currently being an informal or formal mentee on generativity levels and generativity development, and (d) the influence of participant sex (i.e., male or female) on generativity level and generativity development. Participants completed an online survey once each year for three years. Along with demographic information, the survey featured the three seminal measures of generativity: (a) Loyola Generativity Scale, (b) Generativity Behavior Checklist, and (c) Report of Personal Strivings. Growth curve analytic techniques in multilevel modeling were employed to identify the developmental trajectories of generativity among college student leaders from their first year of being a mentor (Time One) to their third and final year of being a mentor (Time Three). Growth curve analytic techniques, utilized because of their ability to account for change over time and enhanced statistical power, revealed that generative behavior significantly increased over time. Generative commitment also showed a significant increase over time; however, the model with time as a predictor variable was not a significantly better fit to the data than the model without time; therefore, the more parsimonious model without time was retained. Additional results revealed that sex significantly influenced generative concern and generative behavior with women scoring higher than men. These results, considered in combination with previous literature, support the utilization of mentoring as an intervention to develop generativity and argue for the creation of a generativity scale that specifically assesses emerging adults or college students. The findings provide additional insights on leadership measurement and education for scholars and practitioners.

Advisor: Lindsay J. Hastings