Abstract
Introduction
Methods

Results
Discussion

Keywords

References
Relevant Links

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The Effects of Generation Status and Parental Pressure on College Adjustment and Achievement Motivation

 

By: Nicole Caredeo

Abstract

       The present study investigated the differences in college adjustment between first generation students, whose parents never had attended college and students who were not first generation. When a person goes away to college for the first time and is placed in an unfamiliar environment, away from most of their family and friends, many uncertainties arise.  College can also bring about external pressures that can affect the way in which we view the college experience as well as our motivation to achieve. Past research has also found that parents and financial responsibility can be a potential influence in regards to pressure, which can hinder a student's ability to succeed in college.  Based on this, the hypothesis for this research was that first generation students would have a more difficult time adjusting to college, both socially and academically.  It is also suggested that first generation students would report both lower achievement levels and perceived parental involvement lower than what would be reported of students who were not first generation. It was also hypothesized that a lower level of parental pressure would lead to a higher level of achievement motivation and higher scores on the college adjustment scale. The results of this study alone proposes the idea that it is good to feel some form of pressure while trying to performing a challenging task, and that this pressure sometimes helps to motivate. Practical applications and improvements are discussed in which further studies could facilitate these limitations.

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Keywords

First Generation                 Parental Pressure

College Adjustment                  Achievement Motivation

                                Introduction

Going away to college can sometimes be a new and intimidating environment if we leave feeling unprepared or uncertain of what to expect.  The high levels of stress and vulnerability associated with college adjustment can be associated with certain sociodemographic variables (York-Anderson & Bowman, 1991). Successful college adjustment requires a number of developmental tasks typical to every student entering college.  These include achieving competence, managing emotions, becoming autonomous, establishing a personal identity, developing healthy interpersonal relationships and developing integrity (Misra & McKean, 2000).

New evidence may indicate what the underlying causes for this pressure may be.  Constructs such as culture, parental values, parental income, and friends can be important in college adjustment (York-Anderson & Bowman, 1991). Based on this idea, it is important to assess whether or not parental factors, financial responsibilities or personal factors affect a student’s ability to adapt to college?

Sciacca (1992) found that not only were high levels of stress and pressure promoting unhealthy behaviors, but that these behaviors were in turn causing poor college performance. Reports by Pilcher (1997) reaffirm Sciacca’s study that lack of sleep; stress and poor academic performance work in a three-factor cycle of causation for many first year students. High levels of external stress, such as parental pressure and the financial responsibility of holding down a job, can promote around the clock study habits.  Poor study habits can result in lower levels of academic performance due to sleep deprivation. In turn, low levels of academic performance simply add to the student’s level of stress. This cycle of stress and unhealthy behavior can not only have direct effect on ones physical health, but on one’s mental health and motivation to achieve, as well.

Motivation to achieve in college can be hindered by the various behaviors that many students use as stress relievers. Studies have shown that students are most motivated when they are working on goals they themselves have set, and believe that the tasks they are involved in are relevant to their personal goals (Wildman & Albrecht, 1995). College students don’t only feel pressure to achieve from faculty, but also from those they care about.  When a student feels that external pressure is out of their control, they may find themselves struggling to find the motivation to achieve for themselves, simply because they are overly concerned with the need to fulfill the expectations placed on them by the people that matter most to them. Another study revealed that family expectations of success may be as important as a student's own expectations and that college students, with high levels of achievement motivation, are more likely to come from families who parents are more educated (Hallberg & Sauer, 2001).   Based on previous research, it may be that first generation students show more or less achievement motivation than students whose parents did attend a four year college, but rather, that these first generation students simply show different goals and motivations during college (Van, 2002).

Recent evidence reported that first generation college students experience more difficulties in adjustment to college than second or third generation students (Orozco, 1999). Aside from the fact that many first generation college students perceived less support from their families for attending college, studies have revealed that more and more students whose parents have not attended college are pursuing higher education (Levine, 1982).

As a first generation college attendant, certain factors can contribute to unwanted or unneeded stress for the student.  First generation students may feel as though they are entering college less prepared than those students whose parents had attended college and were able to help them better prepare (Zwerling & London, 1992). One survey assessing first generation students found that first generation freshman expressed higher levels of fear in failing college, worry more about financial aid, and felt they had to put more time into studying (Van, 2002). It can be difficult for parents who have gone through college themselves, to accept their child’s college experience as a personal one. Students can feel certain pressures involving competition and meeting the standards of their parents. 

Brooks-Terry (1988) compiled data summarizing the various disadvantages reported by first generation students in their adjustment to college. Students reported feeling conflicting loyalties between off-campus and on-campus family and friends, higher education was seen as a means to a well paying job as well as a confliction between the values they are experiencing in college, and those from back home.  First generation students also experienced several factors, which they felt were pulling them away from the college setting.  These included part time jobs and obligations back home. College educated parents are more likely than less educated parents to expect their children to even attend college (Brooks-Terry, 1988).  In 1988, the Brooks-Terry study revealed that the higher the father's level of occupation and mother's educational level the more likely is college student persistence. Parental expectations have shown to add to college success (Brooks-Terry, 1988).  Based on this idea, it may be assumed that a further study of students, whose parents went to college as well, should show high levels of achievement motivation, as well as have an easier time adjusting to college life.

Financing higher education continues to be a source of stress for both students and their families.  In a research survey done at the New York University Child Study Center, 83% of high school students expect to have jobs while attending college and 50% of college students end up working 25 hours/week and 30% work full time (www.aboutourkids.org).  This added burden of working to earn money can become an added stress and also make it more difficult adjusting to college lifestyle.  First-year students forced to find a job are also forced to concern themselves with financial stability, while balancing academic demands, may find it more difficult to enjoy them selves outside the classroom.  If students are required more to work for pay, to put themselves through college, and otherwise support themselves, it is possible that reports will indicate a differential level of college adjustment compared to students who do not have to carry a job (Russell & Petrie, 1992).

In this study we will further assess how parental pressure affects the adjustment to college process experienced by first year freshmen.  Students will first be screened to separate first generation students from those who are not.  And next will be assessed to understand the strength of financial security felt by each student participant.A literature review in 1995 stated that students are most motivated to achieve when they are working on goals for themselves and believe that the tasks are relevant to their own personal goals (Wildman, 1995).  Students who are first generation may find adapting to college more difficult because they may carry false expectations, are less prepared and lack the amount of support from parents than do children who are not the first in their family to attend a four-year institution (Zalaquette, 1999).

There are several questions this study sets out to understand.  First, do students who are first-generation experience an easier or more difficult time in adjusting to college? In addition to these issues, this study asks whether students who feel that they are constantly under pressure from parents find it more difficult to adjust to college and/or have less motivation to achieve.  Students who are first generation students and carry most of their own financial responsibility may experience higher levels of parental stress.  However, students who are not first generation students may also be experiencing parental stress by feeling obligated to succeed and meet a equal or higher level of academic achievement than their parent.

Based on previous research that has been compiled, the hypothesis for this study suggests several different results.  After the surveys are analyzed most of the participants will fall into four categories:  (a) First generation students experiencing high levels of parental stress, who may find that being less prepared for college or having to work a job could have hindered their adjustment to college (b) First generation students under low levels of stress from parents may also find adapting to college a challenge, however they may not have as high a level of achievement motivation because they are not under as much internal or external pressure to succeed, (c) Student’s who are not first generation students under high parental stress should have an easier time adjusting to college and also show high levels of achievement motivation because they feel pressured to accomplish all, if not more, than what their parents did at that same age.  And lastly (d) Student’s who are not first generation students under very little parental stress.  These students are likely to have the easiest time adjusting to college but may experience little motivation to achieve because of the lack of external pressure being put on them motivation to achieve. 

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Methods

Participants

The participants in this study are 30 full-time college students, freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, from a small liberal arts college in the Northeast, whose ages ranged from 18-21.  The participants are currently enrolled in an introductory psychology course and have participated in this study as a requirement for course credit.  The study incorporated both fifteen first generation students and fifteen students who are not first generation college students.

The first generation students were operationally defined as having neither parent attend a four-year secondary institution. Student not considered first generation students are those who have had either or both parents attend a four-year secondary institution. 

 

Materials

            A demographic survey, Parental Involvement and Perceptions was given to gather information about the participants.  Educational background of the parents of participants and the active role each parent plays in the participant’s college experience was assessed. Also, participants were asked about the amount of external pressure participants may be receiving from both parents, and or financial responsibility. 

The students were also administered a second questionnaire used to measure their ability to adequately adjust and adapt to college, the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ).  This 67-item survey has been used to assess how well a student is adapting to the demands of the college environment (Baker & Siryk, 1984). This measure has two subscales that were used: Academic Adjustment and Social Adjustment. These subscales are then combined to determine an overall adjustment score for college students in this study. Participants indicate how specific statements apply to them on a 9 point scale ranging from (1) very closely applies to me to (9) does not apply at all. The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire focuses on the quality of the student’s adjustment to, rather than an evaluation of, that environment.

In addition to The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire, students were also asked several questions regarding their motivation to achieve.  These supplemental questions will help to assess whether or not each participant regards their motivation to do well in school as being an internal force, or external force.  An internal force would mean the student is working in college for their own self-satisfaction.  However, if the participant shows to be working for more external rewards, it may be that he or she is working to receive accreditation and approval from parents.

 

Procedure

A week before the study was conducted, general psych students were administered a brief pre-screening survey in order to gather a group of students who were of either first generation background or not. Once these students were identified, they were contacted and asked to schedule a time to take the formal survey for the study.

In two separate study sessions, a combination of first generation and students who were not of first generation were given an informed consent and then the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ) as well as a brief Parental and Financial Survey. This design was used to determine a student’s adjustment to college and the relationship it has to parental pressures; which were comprised two variables: whether or not they carry a significant amount of financial obligation to their education and to what extent the participants parents were involved in their college experience. Upon completion of these questionnaires each of the participants received a debriefing statement explaining the importance of the study and it’s motives. Finally, students were thanked for their participation and involvement in the study.

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Results

There were 30 participants in this study.  Of the participants, 15 were categorized as first generation students, whose parents did not formally attend a four-year college or university, and 15 students who did have either one or both parents attend college.  A general analysis of my dependant variables revealed that adjusting to college on an academic level is slightly impaired by students who of first generation as opposed to students who were not.

Means involving motivation to achieve, between groups, indicated that motivation levels were so close that no real distinction could be made.  First generation students reported lower levels of parental pressure as opposed to students not of first generation.  These results help support the earlier hypothesis made, that students who had parents attend college before them were likely to experience high level of pressure from parents as opposed to first generation students.

Of the students surveyed in this study, 80% (12 out of 15) of first generation students were required to carry out a job while attending college.  Only 26% (4 out of 15) of non-first generation students carried out a job on top of school. 

The hypothesis was that significant differences would exist between generational differences and the four dependent variables looked at: Academic College Adjustment, Social College Adjustment, Achievement Motivation and Parental Involvement/Pressure. Though there was no significance, the study still confirmed results consistent with the devised hypothesis.

High-pressure participants scored high on their level of motivation.  This helps to support the earlier hypothesis made, that students who are experience higher levels of parental pressure and involvement should be more motivated than those who reported lower levels. However, these results also support an earlier hypothesis, that students under this external pressure may also find it more difficult to adapt and adjust to college, since they are feeling both pressure from their external “home” environment as well as the pressure from their “new” college environment.

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Discussion

This study compared first generation students, whose parents did not attend a four-year college or university to those whose parents did and the effects of this difference on academic college adjustment, social adjustment to college and achievement motivation.  Students were also compared by high and low levels of parental pressure, where academic and social adjustment, as well as achievement motivation were then looked at.

It was predicted that students who are first generation in college would find it more difficult to adjust to college both academically and socially, show lower levels of achievement motivation and find less pressure from parents in college in regards to expectations and involvement.  Students who were not first generation were predicted to have higher levels of academic and social adjustment, higher levels of achievement motivation and feel as though they had high levels of parental pressure and involvement being weighed upon them.

Overall, there were no statistically significant differences between any of the independent variables tested for. However, although no statistical differences were found, this does not rule out the possibility of making certain distinction between groups and seeing their relevance and value. In fact, the means for each group, on several of the dependant variables, were somewhat consistent with the hypothesis.  Of the two sub-scales taken from the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire, first generation students scored lower on the academic adjustment scale, which indicated that these students had less success coping with the various educational demands characteristic of the college experience.  This implies that student’s whose parents did attend college had an easier time in their academic adjustment. 

With regards to the social sub-scale of the SACQ, means indicated a slightly higher score for first generation students over students who were not of first generation.  Though this was not consistent with the hypothesis made earlier, it is still important to take into account the real life implications of these results.  Perhaps, first generation students were not adjusting as easily, as they had hoped, to the academic demands of college, so they chose to compensate for that by spending more time adjusting socially. They may have found that they did not feel as though they needed as much preparation to participate in extracurricular activities as they did in advancing academically.

For students who were not of first generation status, whose means indicated a lower social adjustment might suggest that for this group of participants, achieving academically is more important than social adjustment. An increasing amount of research supports the importance of social integration and social support in college adjustment. This helps support an idea that even though first generation students find the academic adjustment to college more difficult than the social adjustment, the degree to which they have maintained a social connection with the school has allowed them the opportunity to remain motivated in college.

In this study, achievement motivation was assessed based on the level of both internal and external pressure perceived by the participant. Students of first generation showed lower levels of achievement motivation compared to students who were not of first generation.  It was predicted that students who are not of first generation would be more motivated than students who were of first generational status because of the external pressure from parents who attended college and who may have preliminary expectations of their son or daughter.

When students were asked in this study, what their biggest and smallest motivators to achieve were, first generation students saw themselves as their highest motivators, while viewing their parents as the least of all motivations to achieve.  For those students not of first generation status, parents were not ranked as low as they were for first generation.  These results, on the other hand, are consistent with what was predicted as well as what past research has also indicated.  First generation students had more internal motivation, such as themselves, than students who were not first generation.  External motivators, such as parents, were seen as more valuable to those students who were not first generation.

First generation students also showed a much lower level of parental pressure than those who were not of first generation status.  These results are consistent with what was hypothesized for the study.  Parents, who have also attended college, have more experience and more advice to give and share with their child about what to expect when entering college and how to better prepare.

Overall, this shows a large difference between the responsibilities that are taken on by the first generation students surveyed and students who were not of first generation. First generation students reported feeling under more financial obligation.  They carried more of a financial load themselves and were also required to carry a job more often than students not of first generation. Carrying out a job takes away from time spent on academics, which in turn may have a direct effect on the level of academic success a student may have throughout the college experience. Goldstein and High (1992) observed that employment outside the classroom had a damaging effect on the GPA. These findings also promote future research, which would explore the possibility of a relationship between these two variables.

Past research on this topic reports that motivation to achieve in college can be hindered by the various behaviors that many students use as stress relievers. Perhaps it is important to take into consideration the possibility that a combination of various stresses, both internal and external, may result in low levels of motivation. The level of internal pressure within the participants was not taken into account; therefore, it would be hard to rule out that students under high parental pressure were not also under high internal pressure placed on them alone.  Further research, which would distinguish between levels of internal and external pressures, may help to show significant differences between these groups, and the effect it has on their motivation to achieve.

These findings also suggest that for the parents of first generation students, it may be that they do not offer enough support or involvement in their child’s college experience.  For parents that also attended college, it may be that they are putting too much pressure, and involving themselves too much, in the college experience of their son or daughter. In turn, this overwhelming pressure can hinder the college students ability to find an internal motivation to achieve, as well as finding the importance in adjusting socially as well as academically.

Students who were under higher levels of pressure found college adjustment more difficult. It is also important to distinguish between a good, healthy level of pressure from too much pressure, which can cause us to become so concerned with who or what we are trying for, that we fail to successfully accomplish the activity. For parents, watching the line between encouragement and pressure is key, especially when the relationship between parents and their college-age child is evolving into an adult-to-adult phase (Chau-Klu and Rudowicz, 2001).

The intentions of this study were to further investigate generational status and the effects of this variable on college adjustment and achievement motivation to find out where possible differences may exist.  Past studies have also shown that familial context, regarding parental involvement, pressure and financial dependency to also have an effect on the adjustment to college and how students evaluate their motivation to achieve.  As mentioned in the very beginning of this study, Parents and various family environments can add to this overwhelming sense of pressure, even if their college son or daughter is attending a school far from home. In a study researching college students in Hong Kong, family environment was a big predictor of a student’s first year experiences in college (Chau-Klu and Rudowicz, 2001). 

Limitations on these studies have always been considered to be amongst the sample size of participants. The effects of generational status and their effects on the participant’s motivation to achieve were assessed in this study, through a measure that looked at the students overall level of motivation.  This measure disregarded differences in internal and external motivation. If we were to try and conduct further investigation of what motivates students to achieve, a distinction between internal and external pressures would be something to take into consideration. Further studies could eliminate these limitations by using a larger sample size, where students were either just entering college, or at least had been attending college for the same amount of time.  Future studies could also look at differences between generational status by looking at whether or not certain groups show higher levels of internal motivation or external motivation.

The most important idea we can take from this study are that among student of first generation status, there are a number of uncontrollable factors in their life that play a role in their ability to adjust to college at the same level as students who are not of first generation.  Being first generation should not be looked at as something that causes a student to be less successful in college, but rather, as a quality, which simply has an effect on how he or she adjusts.

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References

Baker, R., & Siryk, B. (1989). SACQ Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire manual. Los Angelos, CA: Western Psychological Services.

 

Brooks-Terry, M. (1988).  Tracing the disadvantages of first generation college students:

An application of Sussman’s option sequence model.  Family support systems across the life span. (121-134).  New York: Plenum Press.

 

Chau-Klu Cheung; Rudowicz, Elisabeth; Graeme, Lang; Xiao

Dong Yue; Kwan, Anna S.F. (2000, December). Critical Thinking Among University Students: Does the Family Background Matter? College Student Journal, 35(4), 577.

 

Goldstein, J. and High, R. (1992.) Academic Performance and Student Employment:

Differences Between Arts, and Science and Business Students.  Paper presented at the Adelphi University colloquium (Garden City, May 1992).

 

Hallberg, E, Hallberg, K & Sauer, L.  (2001).  The Octagon

Learning System.  School Success Central.  Retrieved October 1, 2002, from http://www.schoolsuccesscentral.com/ols.htm

 

Misra & McKean. (2000).  College Students’ Academic Stress

And Its Relation To Their Anxiety, Time Management, And Leisure Satisfaction. American Journal of Health Studies, 16(1), 41.

 

Orozco, C.D. (1999).  Factors contributing to the psychosocial adjustment of Mexican-American college students (Doctoral Dissertation, Northern Arizona University, 1999).  Dissertation Abstracts International, Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 59, 4359.

 

Pilcher J.J.  (1997).  How sleep deprivation affects psychological variables related to college students’ cognitive performance. Journal of American College Health, 46(3), 121-126.

 

Russell, R.K., & Petrie, T.A. (1992). Academic adjustment of college students: Assessment and counseling.  Handbook of Counseling Psychology (2nd ed)(485-511).

 

Sciacca, J. & Hyner G.  (1986).  Stress Management

Education For Undergraduates: Why colleges should intensify their efforts. Journal of the Arizona Association of Health, Physical Education and Dance, 28(16), 25.

 

Van, T. Bui, Khanh. (2002, March).  First Generation College Students At A Four-Year University: Background characteristics, Reasons for pursuing higher education, and first-year experiences. College Student Journal, 36(1), 3.

 

Wildman, Louis & Albrecht, Rustin.  (1995, December).  The Meaning of Schooling: A review of the literature. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 22(4), 393

 

York-Anderson, D.C., & Bowman, S.L. (1991). Assessing the  college knowledge of first generation and second-generation college students.  Journal of College Student Development, 32, 116-122.

 

Zalaquett, Carlos. (1999).  Do students of  noncollege-educated parents achieve less

academically than students of college-educated parents?  Psychological Reports, 85(2), 417-421.

 

Zwerling, L.S., & London, H.B. (1992). First-Generation Students: Confronting the cultural issues. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Transition to College: Separation and change for parents and students. Retrieved September 10, 2002. www.aboutourkids.org.

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Appendices

Appendix A

Parental Involvement and Perceptions of College

 

Year of Graduation: _________

 

SEX:    M          F                                                                    AGE: __________

 

 

PLEASE ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS HONESTLY.   THANK YOU!

 

1.) What type of high school did you attend? (please check)
                 ____ Private, not coed       ____ Private, coed
                 ____ Public                      ____ Public, but private
                 ____ Catholic, private       ____ Other _____________

 

2.) Do you work on campus?  (please check all that pertain)
             ____ NO                ____Work Study
             ____ Payroll           ____ Part-Time (off-campus)
             ____ Full-Time (off-campus)

a.)    If yes, what percentage of you work money would you estimate goes towards college expenses? (please estimate to the best of your knowledge)

____ 0%                                        ____ 25%

____ 50%                                      ____ 100%               

 

b.)    How many hours per week do you dedicate to work? ____________

3.) Please answer true or false to the following statements:

a.) Since I’ve been at college, I consider myself to be my main financial           support system.        T               F

b.) For the most part, I feel I am in charge of all my financial decisions and obligations.            T                      F

 

 

 

 

If you have no contact with one of your parents, and there is not another adult of that same gender with whom you live, then leave the questions about that parent blank.

 

Questions about your mother…..

4.) What was the furthest degree of education reached by your mother?

            _____ high school diploma              _____ Associates ( 2 yrs.)

_____ Bachelor’s degree (4 yrs.)        _________________ Other

Please use the following scale:

              1              2              3                  4               5                 6                 7

     not at all true                               somewhat true                                     very true

5.)                _____ my mother makes many of my decisions for me

 

_____ my decision to go away to college was influenced mainly by my mother

 

_____ my mother is very involved in my college experience

 

_____ my mother shows a lot of concern over the pressures and changes I am going through in college.

 

_____ my mother insists upon me doing things her way

 

 

Now, your father……

6.)What was the furthest degree of education reached by your father?

            _____ High school diploma                 ______ Associates (2 yrs.)

_____ Bachelor’s degree (4 yrs.)          ____________________ Other

 

Please use the following scale:

              1             2               3                  4               5                 6                 7

      not at all true                              somewhat true                                     very true

7.)    _____ my father makes many of my decisions for me

 

_____ my decision to go away to college was based mainly on the influence of my father

 

_____ my father is very involved in my college experience

 

_____ my father shows a lot of concern over the pressures and changes I am experiencing in college

 

_____ my father insists upon me doing things his way

 

8.) What or whom do you feel are your biggest motivators to achieve in life? (Please number each of the five choices from most important to least important)

_____ a.) Money                                 _____ b.) Father

_____ c.) Myself                                  _____ d.) Future Career Goals

_____ e.) Mother

Appendix B

 

Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (2 subscales)

 

Year of Graduation: _____________                                             ID Number __________

 

 

                      Applies very                          Doesn’t Apply

                 Closely to ME                         to ME at All

 

 1.)  I feel that I fit in well as part of the college environment  1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

 2.)  I have been keeping up to date on my academic work       1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9        

 

 3.)  I am happy with the amount of people I have met             1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9           

 

 4.)  I know why I am in college and what I want out of it        1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9                

 

 5.)  I am very involved with social activities in college            1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

 6.)  I am finding academic work in college difficult                 1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

 7.)  I am adjusting well to college                                             1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9                                            

 

 8.)  I haven’t been functioning well during college exams       1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

9.)    I have had informal contacts with my college professors   1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

10.)I am satisfied with my level of academic performance     1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

11.)I am pleased with my decision to attend THIS college     1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9  

 

12.)I am not working as hard as I should be on my work       1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

13.)I have several close social ties at college                   1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

14.)My academic goals and purposes are well defined           1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

15.)Lonesomeness for home is a difficult for me                    1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

16.)I’m not smart enough for college                                      1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9               

 

17.)I enjoy living in a college dormitory                                 1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

18.)I haven’t been efficient in the use of my study time         1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

19.)I enjoy extracurricular activities in college                       1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

20.)I enjoy writing papers for my courses                               1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9           

 

21.)I am getting along very well with my roommates             1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

22.)I really haven’t had much motivation for studying           1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

23.)I feel I have good social skills in college                          1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

24.)I have been having doubts about the value of college      1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9      

 

25.)I’m not feeling at ease with others in college                   1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

26.)I am satisfied with my current courses I am enrolled in   1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9  

 

27.)I am satisfied with my participation in social activities   1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

28.)Recently, I have had trouble concentrating                       1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

29.)I haven’t been mixing well with the opposite sex lately   1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

30.)I am not doing as well academically as I’d hope to be     1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

31.)I have been feeling lonely at college lately                       1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

32.)I am satisfied with the courses available at college           1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

33.)I do not feel like I relate to the other students at college   1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

34.)I am having trouble starting homework at college            1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

35.)I would rather be at home than here at college                  1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

36.)I am satisfied with my courses this semester                     1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

37.)I have made quality relationships at college                      1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

38.)My interests do not relate to my coursework                     1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

39.)I am satisfied with the social life at school                          1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

40.)I am satisfied with my academic situation in college            1   2   3   4    5   6   7   8   9 

 

 

 

Please use the following scale to rate statements # 41 - # 46

              1                 2           3                     4            5                     6                         7

          True                                      somewhat true                                                      False           

 

41.)______ I try to do well in school because that’s what I’m suppose to do.

 

 

 

42.)______ I try to do well in school so my parents will think I’m a good student

 

 

 

43.)______ I try to do well in school so I won’t get in trouble.

 

 

 

44.)______ I try well in school because I’ll feel really bad about myself if I don’t

 

         

 

45.)______ I try to do well in school because it is important to ME.

 

         

 

46.)______ I try to do well in school so I can feel proud of myself if I do well.

 

 

 

Appendix C

 

Pre-Screening Questionnaire

 

Year of Graduation: _________

 

SEX:    M          F                                                                    AGE: __________

 

 

PLEASE ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS HONESTLY.   THANK YOU!

 

1.) What type of high school did you attend? (please check)
                 ____ Private, not coed       ____ Private, coed
                 ____ Public                      ____ Public, but private
                 ____ Catholic, private       ____ Other _____________

 

2.) Do you work on campus?  (please check all that pertain)
             ____ NO                ____Work Study
             ____ Payroll           ____ Part-Time (off-campus)
             ____ Full-Time (off-campus)

 

If you have no contact with one of your parents, and there is not another adult of that same gender with whom you live, then leave the questions about that parent blank.

 

Questions about your mother…..

4.) What was the furthest degree of education reached by your mother?

            _____ high school diploma              _____ Associates ( 2 yrs.)

_____ Bachelor’s degree (4 yrs.)        _________________ Other

 

Now, your father……

6.)What was the furthest degree of education reached by your father?

            _____ High school diploma                 ______ Associates (2 yrs.)

_____ Bachelor’s degree (4 yrs.)          ____________________ Other

Appendix D

COLLEGE STRESS AND COPING STRATEGIES

DEBRIEFING STATEMENT

 

            Thank you for participating in this research study.  The purpose of this study was to look at the effects of parental stress on achievement motivation and college adaptation.

Going away to college can become a significant milestone in the life of a family based on separation as well as transition. There are a number of developmental tasks typical to every student entering college.  These include achieving competence, managing emotions, becoming autonomous, establishing a personal identity and developing healthy interpersonal relationships. For many college students, college stress revolves around things such as competition to meet certain academic standards as well as financial woes. In one 1999 survey of 683 colleges and universities conducted in the first days of school by the University of California at Los Angeles, 30.02% of freshman reported feeling frequently overwhelmed. Parents, whether they are aware or not, can sometimes add to this overwhelming sense of stress, even if their college son or daughter is attending a school far from home.

It can also be difficult for parents who have gone through college themselves, to accept their child’s college experience as a personal one. Students can feel certain pressure involving competition and meeting the standards of their parents. 

The questionnaires in which you have just answered will help to facilitate in the analysis of various parental stress levels among college students and the effect these levels had on college adaptation and the motivation to achieve. There are absolutely no right or wrong answers to these surveys; they are simply a guide to revealing any possible correlation between stress and the first-year college experiences.

Anything found in this study will not reflect on you as an individual and all information will be kept confidential.  In order to assure the reliability and dependability of this study, I ask that you agree to keep all information throughout the testing process confidential, as well. Thank you for all of your help.  If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail me at ncaredeo@anselm.edu.

 

 

                                                                        Thank you,

                                                                        Nicole Caredeo

 

Relevant Links

Saint Anselm College
http://www.nd.edu/~rmacrori/fyc110/design/appendices/college/14.shtml
www.aboutourkids.org