Substantial research in the field of college student development has demonstrated that attending college affects the personal and social development of students as well as their academic growth. According to prevailing theories in developmental vectors and tasks by Chickering and Havighurst, students typically broaden their identity, values, relational skills, and lifestyle behaviors during college through a range of experiences and programs including student activities, university counseling centers, and special events. Nevertheless, few college courses have been specifically designed to encourage these developmental processes. To investigate taking a course for credit designed to improve college student development, 104 undergraduate students attending a southeastern regional university participated in this mixed-method study. A concurrent, embedded approach in the study emphasized quasi-experimental design and was supplemented with a qualitative component. Students taking this course made significant gains in psychosocial development as measured by pre- and post-test scores on the Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Assessment (SDTLA) compared to students in control classes. Multivariate analysis of covariance indicated overall improvement, Wilks' Δ = .897, F(3, 97) = 3.702, p < .014, □p 2</super> =.103, although univariate analysis resulted in significant differences with scales from the SDTLA related to purpose and autonomy but not for relationships. The qualitative findings added support from a criterion-referenced questionnaire indicating generally positive changes in attitude, knowledge, and behavior from taking the student development course. Overall, the results suggested college student development could be enhanced by course instruction designed according to major theories from this field. Additional research, especially with experimental design iv employing random sampling and selection, multiple study sites, and follow-up measurement, might substantiate these changes and also identify which interventions most effectively promote college student development.
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational psychology, Developmental psychology, Higher education|
|Keywords:||College counseling, College student development, Positive psychology, Psychoeducation, Undergraduate|
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