Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Komarraju, Meera

Abstract

The aim of the current study was to explore the effects of non-cognitive variables in predicting GPA, institutional commitment, and retention in a sample of African American college students. Specifically, the researcher examined the validity in measuring and utilizing culture specific factors in identifying and intervening with first-year college students. Participants were given measures of positive self-concept, cultural mistrust, cultural congruity, managing discrimination, seeking help, educational value, and financial preparation in addition to a standard measure of non-cognitive predictors. Additionally, participants received one of three interventions (waitlist-control, academic advising, and culturally infused academic advising) with the intent to improve non-cognitive functioning. Analyses of the results suggest that cultural components significantly impact student performance and institutional commitment. No evidence was found to support a change in retention. Implications of these finding and limitations to this study are discussed.

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