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Identification among first-generation citizen students and first-generation college students: An exploration of school sense of community

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Abstract

The current study explored the relationships within a higher education institution between school sense of community among first-generation U.S. citizen students and first-generation college students compared to students of non-first generation studentship and citizenship (N = 3,025; M age = 27.21), and of varied racial backgrounds. Students at a large, urban, and faith-based university completed a measure of belongingness on campus. In terms of generational status, results found a significant interaction such that students who were both first-generation U.S. citizen students and first-generation college students reported the highest school sense of community. However, the combined first-generation U.S. citizen students and non-first-generation college student group reported the lowest scores. Despite these significant findings, sense of community scores were very similar with few differences between groups, which is further discussed in the discussion and limitation sections. Significant racial differences were not found. Implications for community psychology and higher education policy are discussed.

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... Belongingness and motivation are situational to the student and their perception of a campus climate they can invest in psychologically (Astin, 1984;Goodenow, 1993;Schlossberg et al., 1989). FG students may have comparable belongingness and intrinsic motivation to non-FG students in a university environment that does not make them feel like an outsider but makes them feel welcome (Williams & Ferrari, 2015;Williams et al., 2013;Woosley & Shepler, 2011). Perhaps smaller campuses with non-traditional student majorities, such as our target institution, may have FG students with higher levels of belongingness than other populations or students with lower levels of belongingness overall compared to larger institutions (though the la er seems implausible). ...
... Goodenow's (1993) PSSM is used in a couple of studies in college students, perhaps because it assesses feelings of belonging to an institution. In related literature, researchers use scales to assess college academic belongingness which focuses on community belongingness (Williams & Ferrari, 2015;Williams et al., 2013), family belongingness, or campus-life belongingness . FG students, in particular, have reported lower levels of campus belongingness because of lower feelings of social inclusion in college-life activities (Stebleton et al., 2014;Stephens et al., 2012). ...
... Campus-community belongingness scales do not typically include speci c language about the perception of student-student and studentfaculty interactions and behaviors. Rather, the scales contain items such as, "I feel that I belong at this campus" , or focus on the sense of belongingness created by reports of broad campus values of interdependence (e.g., "learn to be a team player") or independence (e.g., "learn to express oneself," Stephens et al., 2012;Williams & Ferrari, 2015;Williams et al., 2013). ...
Article
College learning depends on belongingness and personal motivation. First-generation (FG) college students are at risk for lower belongingness and motivation compared to non-FG students. We examined self-reported belongingness with the Psychological Sense of School Membership scale, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation with the Motivational Strategies for Learning Questionnaire in FG (n = 138) and non-FG (n = 100) college students at a regional university. There was no significant difference between the two groups on belongingness and extrinsic motivation, and there were marginally higher levels of intrinsic motivation, on average, in FG students (t 220.264 =-1.971, p =.05). Further examination revealed higher belongingness was related to higher intrinsic motivation for all students, but only for the FG group did extrinsic motivation relate to belongingness. We recommend researchers examine belongingness and the potentially higher levels of belongingness and motivation in academic communities with a larger FG student population.
... On a later study, Lardier et al. (2021) tested the measurement equivalence of the BSCS across gender (male and female) among Hispanic youth, validating further the scale to use with both gender identities in this population. These findings have increased our confidence of the BSCS's validity, but given that culture might influence individuals' sense of community (Arafat et al., 2016;Williams & Ferrari, 2015), it is important to continue to validate the BSCS by examining whether PSOC is conceptualized similarly between non-Hispanic, Blacks and Hispanics. This paper addresses this need by testing the measurement equivalence of the BSCS across the two groups in a sample of college students. ...
... Some studies have found that Hispanic college students are significantly more collectivists toward non-kin groups over their non-Hispanic peers (e.g., Arevalo et al., 2016). Hispanic college students might be first or second-generation students, creating unique ways of bonding with their community due to shared experiences of integration into a university (Williams & Ferrari, 2015). Cultural nourishment, defined as elements that replenish students' cultural sense of selves, such as bonding with other students with similar cultural practices and values, has been found to assist Hispanic student persistence in college (González, 2002). ...
Article
Ethnic-racial background may influence college students' psychological sense of community (PSOC). Thus, it is critical to examine whether this construct is conceptualized similarly between non-Hispanic, Black and Hispanic students. This study tested the measurement invariance of the Brief Sense of Community Scale (BSCS) across the two groups. We used data from a self-administered online survey provided to college students in 2016 in a Northeastern urban university (non-Hispanic, Black = 307; Hispanic = 409). We tested the measurement invariance of the BSCS using a series of nested multigroup confirmatory factor analyses with increasingly restrictive sets of parameters. Measurement invariance of the BSCS across non-Hispanic, Black and Hispanic college students was achieved. The BSCS successfully measures the multi-dimensionality of PSOC across the two groups in a college setting. Students' score on the BSCS is not biased by measurement invariance related to cultural influences. When using the BSCS, community psychologists and researchers can have confidence that the observed differences in PSOC across non-Hispanic, Black and Hispanic college students are attributable to true differences rather than a cultural understanding of the construct.
... Additionally, past research has also highlighted sense of community at the university and a sense of belonging as important factors for college students (Cheng, 2004;Hausman et al., 2009;Hoffman et al., 2002;McKinney et al., 2006). Past research has often used the terms sense of belonging and sense of community interchangeably (Cheng, 2004;Williams & Ferrari, 2015); however, we explore these terms as two distinct concepts. Hagerty et al. (1992) defined a sense of belonging as the experience of feeling that one is vital to a particular system or environment through a personal connection or association. ...
Article
The aim of the present study was to examine how college students’ retrospective reports of youth-mentoring experiences were associated with current sense of belonging and community, academic motivation, and college self-efficacy, and to determine hows these outcomes vary as a function of mentoring relationship quality, duration, and type (e.g., natural versus program-sponsored). Analyses were conducted in Mplus 8.0 on a sample of 400 college students. Our findings suggest that most college students endorse a mentoring relationship. We found that having a mentor was associated with increased college self-efficacy. Among those with a youth mentor, relationship quality was positively associated with sense of belonging and college self-efficacy while duration of the mentoring relationship and relationship type were not associated with college-related outcomes. Further analyses were conducted to assess how the associations between relationship quality and the college-related outcomes varied as a function of mentoring duration and type. Relationship quality was uniquely associated with these college-related outcomes over and above student gender, race, and first-generation status. Our findings suggest it may be important to prioritize the enhancement of mentor relationship quality as a mechanism to affect change in academic-related outcomes. High Lights • Having a youth mentor is associated with increased self-efficacy regarding college. • Mentoring relationship quality was the most important factor for the college-related outcomes. • Within shorter relationships, higher relationship quality predicted higher sense of belonging. • For program-sponsored mentors, relationship quality was associated with higher academic motivation. • For natural mentors, relationship quality was linked to higher belonging and college self-efficacy.
... Institutional culture impacts first generation college students (Erin & Nadine, 2014) The early experiences and integration in the persistence of first-generation college students in engineering and non-engineering academic majors (Dika & D'Amico, 2016) needs an on look as the supposed attrition factors could hard hit first generation more (Ishitani, 2003) resulting in lack of belongingness in lower academic achievement school dropouts, and less institutional involvement among first generation students (Williams & Ferrari, 2015). Hence retention of first generation students need to be focused with special attention ( This can be tethered further by positive academic engagement among first generation students resulting in successful retention over the academic years (Soria & Stebleton, 2012) with concerns of retention of first generation minority students in post-secondary institutions still brewing over the matter for long (Harrell & Forney, 2003). ...
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Higher education is known for multitude of institutions who are on a rampage to provide for best of best education to every student. A student is often left with dilemmas where all institute provide for similar courses of same duration. The choice of one's institute is often left with multiple parameters though often striding the take away with the availability of ones choice of academic major. Nevertheless, over the years of being one at campus, the student often relinquishes the internal and external environment of institution to be a cherished with said parameters that serve as benchmarks for future generations to opt as one.
... The research begins to forge an overlap around the importance of social integration in the academic success of students in general. There is a strong relationship between student's self-perceived belongingness, social support, and inclusion and their persistence in school (Williams & Ferrari, 2015). First-generation college students may lack the support of family members, who have never endured the taxing stress and academic expectations that are associated with college. ...
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First-generation college students (FGCS) experience the same challenges as non-first-generation students (NFGCS), but they also face their own unique stressors such as a lack of academic preparation, absence of support from family and friends, and difficult cultural transitions. A combination of these factors may put them at higher risk for mental health problems, lower retention rates, and lower graduation rates. The goal of this study is to assess whether differences in mental health variables, social support, academics, and financial distress exist between FGCS and NFGCS seeking services at a university counseling center. Findings from this study showed that FGCS reported significantly more academic distress, work hours, and financial distress than NFGCS. There were no significant differences in regards to mental health variables, perceived social and family support, or academic success.
... Another important dimension related to social support is college students' sense of belonging and connectedness to one's campus community (Stebleton, Soria, & Huesman, 2014;Williams & Ferrari, 2015). Greater academic and social integration on campus is strongly linked to college students' persistence, retention, and graduation (Hausmann, Schofield, & Woods, 2007). ...
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The current study explores contextual factors that contribute to the linkage between perceived barriers and career outcome expectations of first-generation college students (FGCS). The authors tested how FGCS’ sense of coherence, social support from family, peers, and a special person, as well as their sense of campus connectedness mediate or moderate the effect of perceived educational and career barriers on their vocational outcome expectations. Participants were 153 ethnically diverse FGCS attending public universities. Moderation analysis indicated that campus connectedness was a significant moderator—for FGCS who experience low or average level of campus connectedness, higher levels of barriers are associated with more negative career outcome expectations. Mediation analysis supported that the relationship between perceived barriers and career outcome expectations was mediated by sense of coherence. None of the other social support variables were statistically significant as a moderator. Implications for future research and program development are discussed. https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/ynDW4cIhVi6p3CtnBCHT/full
... The early experiences and integration in the persistence of first-generation college students in engineering and non engineering academic majors (Dika & D"Amico, 2016) needs an on look as the supposedly attrition factors could hard hit first generation more (Ishitani, 2003) resulting in lack of belongingness in lower academic achievement school dropouts, and less institutional involvement among first generation students (S. M. Williams & Ferrari, 2015). Hence retention of first generation students need to be focused with special attention ( The study perpetuates the following research hypothesis:-H 1: Campus adaptations of academic, social, physicalpsychological and institutional environments does not vary among undergraduate students by their generation status H 1a : There is a significant difference among undergraduate students across first to generations in campus adaptations of academic, social, physicalpsychological and institutional adaptations. ...
... Universities can also create better systems for reporting and responding to biased events, with trainings offered to educate bystanders in ways to act as allies to students experiencing subtle and overt acts of exclusion (Banyard, Plante, & Moynihan, 2004). This can ultimately help all students feel safer and more welcomed at a university, while hopefully reducing experiences of discrimination that are so pervasive for some (Williams & Ferrari, 2015). ...
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Through use of an interpretive phenomenological inquiry, this study examined the lived experiences of first-generation college students persisting at a mid-sized, private, predominantly White institution. Themes that emerged across participants included a sense of “otherness” according to students’ race, ethnicity, and first-generation and socioeconomic statuses. Motivations and strengths that enabled students to persist in school, despite facing multiple obstacles, are described. Implications for students and helping professionals are included.
... Integration into social life on campus is also impeded by the need to work in order to meet intuitional costs, especially given the everincreasing cost of college attendance (Lohfink & Paulsen, 2005). Several studies have documented the relationship between financial burden, lack of social integration, and decreased retention rates in FGCS (Fry, 2004;Pascarella et al., 2004;Terenzini, Springer, Yaeger, Pascarella, & Nora, 1996;Williams & Ferrari, 2015). For example, Pascarella et al. (2004) stated that increased work responsibilities likely contribute to lower levels of involvement in extracurricular activities, athletic participation, volunteer work, and noncourse-related interactions with peers that often predict college success. ...
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The current project uses our university’s new student survey to compare previously reported trends in first-generation college student (FGCS) retention with those found on our campus and discusses potential directions for future research and intervention programs. Consistent with previous research, our data showed that financial concerns were a particularly strong predictor of freshman-to-sophomore retention. FGCS reported that they were significantly more concerned about money and expected to maintain employment throughout their college career at higher rates. This emphasis on work reduces the amount of time FGCS engage in college-related activities and hinders their feeling of connection with their peers. For example, our FGCS expected to encounter more difficulty performing well academically, fitting into the campus environment, and making new friends than non-FGCS students. Our future research agenda extends these findings to other aspects of campus life, examining issues such as cultural fit, family ties, and university inclusiveness.
... Aunque, las aproximaciones seminales han sido contextualizadas tomando como referencia el barrio (Sánchez-Vidal, 2007;Sánchez-Vidal, 2009), su aplicación se ha extendido a otros tipos de comunidad como el trabajo o la Universidad, o a grupos como los de riesgo de exclusión (Arce, Seijo, Fariña, y Mohamed-Mohand, 2010;Seider, Huguley y Novick, 2013;Williams y Ferrari, 2015). Así, el sentido de comunidad ha sido analizado en una amplia variedad de poblaciones y tipos de comunidades (Jason, Stevens, y Ram, 2015;Maya, 2004). ...
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This article discusses the development and validation of a measure of adolescent students' perceived belonging or psychological membership in the school environment. An initial set of items was administered to early adolescent students in one suburban middle school (N = 454) and two multi-ethnic urban junior high schools (N = 301). Items with low variability and items detracting from scale reliability were dropped, resulting in a final 18-item Psychological Sense of School Membership (PSSM) scale, which had good internal consistency reliability with both urban and suburban students and in both English and Spanish versions. Significant findings of several hypothesized subgroup differences in psychological school membership supported scale construct validity. The quality of psychological membership in school was found to be substantially correlated with self-reported school motivation, and to a lesser degree with grades and with teacher-rated effort in the cross-sectional scale development studies and in a subsequent longitudinal project. Implications for research and for educational practice, especially with at-risk students, are discussed.
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Immigration since the 1960s has transformed the nation. Today, close to one-fourth of the American population is of immigrant stock – immigrants themselves or children of immigrants. The same rough proportion holds among young Americans, aged 18 or younger. Children of immigrants and immigrant children exceed 30 million today and are, by far, the fastest growing component of this population. Hence, their destiny as they reach adulthood and seek to integrate socially and economically into the mainstream is more than of academic interest.
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This study examined the associations among loneliness, stressful life events, urinary cortisol levels, and immunocompetency. Blood and urine were obtained from 33 psychiatric inpatients on the day after admission, at which time the patients completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale, the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview Life Events Scale (PERI), and the MMPI. Patients who scored above the median on loneliness had significantly higher urinary cortisol levels. The high loneliness group also had significantly lower levels of natural killer cell activity, as well as a poorer T-lymphocyte response to phytohemagglutinin. The high loneliness subjects described themselves as more distressed than the low loneliness group on the MMPI. There were no consistent significant effects on either the immunologic measures or the MMPI associated with the PERI.
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This study examined data on case management clients who are homeless and have a severe mental illness to determine how those contacted through street outreach differ in their socio-demographic characteristics, service needs, and outcomes from those clients contacted in shelters and other health and social service agencies. As part of the Center for Mental Health Services' Access to Community Care and Effective Services and Supports (ACCESS) program, data were obtained from potential clients over the first 3 years of the program at the time of the first outreach contact (n = 11,857), at the time of enrollment in the case management program (n = 5,431), and 3 months after enrollment (n = 4,587). Clients contacted at outreach on the street, as opposed to being contacted in shelters and service agencies, were generally worse off. They were more likely to be male, to be older, to spend more nights literally homeless before the contact, to have psychotic disorders, and took longer to engage in case management. They expressed less interest in treatment and were less likely to enroll in the case management phase of the project. Subjects contacted on the street who did enroll were more impaired than their street counterparts who did not enroll. Three month outcome data showed that enrolled clients contacted through street outreach showed improvement that was equivalent to those enrolled clients contacted in shelters and other service agencies on nearly all outcome measures. Street outreach to homeless persons with serious mental illness is justified as these clients are more severely impaired, have more basic service needs, are less motivated to seek treatment, and take longer to engage than those contacted in other settings. Street outreach is further justified as it engages the most severely impaired among the street population. Street outreach also appears to be effective as the clients reached in this way showed improvement equal to that of other clients in most outcome domains when baseline differences were taken into account.
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Loneliness predicts morbidity and mortality from broad-based causes, but the reasons for this effect remain unclear. Few differences in traditional health behaviors (e.g., smoking, exercise, nutrition) have been found to differentiate lonely and nonlonely individuals. We present evidence that a prototypic restorative behavior--sleep--does make such a differentiation, not through differences in time in bed or in sleep duration, but through differences in efficacy: In the study we report here, lonely individuals evinced poorer sleep efficiency and more time awake after sleep onset than nonlonely individuals. These results, which were observed in controlled laboratory conditions and were found to generalize to the home, suggest that lonely individuals may be less resilient than nonlonely individuals in part because they sleep more poorly. These results also raise the possibility that social factors such as loneliness not only may influence the selection of health behaviors but also may modulate the salubrity of restorative behaviors.
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A recent meta-analysis demonstrates a robust but small association between weekly religious attendance and longer life. However, the practical significance of this finding remains controversial. Age specific, actuarial death rates were modified according to published odds ratios to model the additional years of life attributable to: (1) weekly religious attendance; (2) regular physical exercise; and (3) statin-type lipid-lowering agents. Secondary analyses estimated the approximate cost for each additional year of life gained. Weekly attendance at religious services accounts for an additional 2 to 3 life-years compared with 3 to 5 life-years for physical exercise and 2.5 to 3.5 life-years for statin-type agents. The approximate cost per life-year gained was between 2,000 dollars and 6,000 dollars for regular exercise, 3,000 dollars and 10,000 dollars for regular religious attendance, and between 4,000 dollars and 14,000 dollars for statin-type agents. The real-world, practical significance of regular religious attendance is comparable to commonly recommended therapies, and rough estimates even suggest that religious attendance may be more cost-effective than statins. Religious attendance is not a mode of medical therapy, but these findings warrant more and better quality research designed to examine the associations between religion and health, and the potential relevance such associations might have for medical practice.
Lost and Found: Faith and Spirituality in the Lives of Homeless People
  • C Gravell
Gravell, C. (2013). Lost and Found: Faith and Spirituality in the Lives of Homeless People. London: Lemos & Crane Publishers.