Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Thomas King

Abstract

Hispanic college students are more at risk of poor academic performance and dropping out than any other racial group. The Hispanic college population continues to grow, yet rates of retention and achievement for this group continue to decline. Previous research on Hispanic college students has examined factors that contribute to underachievement and declining graduation rates, but they are limited to students attending 4-year institutions. This study examined if grade point averages (GPAs) were affected by levels of self-efficacy, resiliency, and sensation seeking. Bandura's self-efficacy and social cognitive theories along with Zuckerman and Kuhlman's theory of sensation-seeking were the theoretical frameworks that guided the present study. Hispanic students with high levels of self-efficacy were expected to have higher GPAs than students with low levels of self-efficacy. Students who were high sensation seekers were hypothesized to have lower GPAs than low sensation seekers. Lastly, it was hypothesized that sensation-seeking behaviors would be correlated with lower GPAs and lower levels of self-efficacy. The resiliency aspect â??coping with stress makes me strongerâ?? was a significant predictor of GPA. Sensation-seeking activities such as roller coaster riding, sex before marriage, and skiing were shown to correlate with lower GPAs. College self-efficacy did not have a relationship to Hispanic community college students' GPAs. These findings may be important to educators, administrators, and others directly involved in promoting student success in college because students at risk for low academic performance and dropping out of college can be identified earlier and therefore early intervention strategies can be implemented.

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