Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Hagler, Barbara


Mattering involves feeling as though oneself belongs in a community and tends to influence one’s college experience. The issue of mattering has been explored in social psychology and education literature. Such research has sought to understand the transitions and necessary role changes of college students. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of studies on perceived mattering within one specific college student population—student veterans and active service members (SV/ASM). Higher learning institutions have expressed concerns about the academic progress of the SV/ASM population upon transitioning into college. However, no previous studies have examined the relationship between SV/ASM’s sense of mattering and their academic success. As such, the purpose of this study was twofold. First, it attempted to develop a mattering scale in order to examine SV/ASM mattering. Second, it explored the predictive ability of perceived mattering variables to SV/ASM’s academic success, as measured by their cumulative grade point average (GPA). The Mattering Scales for Adult Students in Higher Education (MHE) was used in this quantitative study with demographic questions. A sample of 129 SV/ASM enrolled at a research-based university in the midwestern region of the United States was used in this survey. An exploratory factor analysis was applied to operationalize the construct of mattering from MHE in order to investigate the SV/ASM’s feelings of mattering regarding the higher education environment. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were utilized to examine the effects of the mattering variables from MHE on the SV/ASM’s GPA. This study found that four mattering dimensions in the higher education environment could be employed to measure SV/ASM’s sense of mattering: peers, faculty, advising, and administration. The findings revealed that the SV/ASM generally have a neutral sense of mattering to their non-military peers and the university’s administration, while expressing a positive sense of mattering to their faculty members and advisors. The findings also indicated that peers and administration may impact SV/ASM’s academic success. Therefore, higher learning institutions should strive to provide tailored administration and positive peer interactions for SV/ASM in order to promote their overall academic success in higher education.




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