Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Stephen B. Hillman


This study used a multi-dimensional model of college adjustment to examine the relationships between multiple layers of personal influences and college adjustment (academic, social, personal/emotional, attachment to the institution, and overall adjustment) among emerging adults in a large urban university. The sample included 177 undergraduate students, ages 18-25, attending Wayne State University, who completed on-line questionnaires. Race and cumulative college GPA were related to academic adjustment. Being Arabic/Middle-Eastern was a consistent predictor of college adjustment. It was found that higher college GPA and being White was related to higher academic adjustment, while being Arabic/Middle-Eastern was related to lower academic adjustment. College GPA was the only personal/demographic variable predicting social adjustment. A positive relationship was found between the self-reported social class and the personal-emotional adjustment. Being Arabic/Middle-Eastern, first generation college student, or on-campus living, were related to a lower sense of attachment to the institution, while higher college GPA was related to higher levels of attachment. Higher GPA was related to higher overall adjustment, while being Arabic/Middle Eastern was associated with lower overall adjustment. The perceived classroom comfort was positively related to all aspects of college adjustment. The number of hours spent socializing with students outside of class was positively related to social adjustment, attachment to the institution, and the overall adjustment. Current family obligations were related to stronger attachment to the institution as well as the overall adjustment. Lastly, conflict between school and family responsibilities was related to lower college adjustment scores.

It would be helpful for university officials to pay special attention to students of various ethnic/racial backgrounds and first generation college students when designing special programs for students at-risk. In addition, enhancing classroom experiences could improve students' adjustment. Lastly, support should be provided to students who are struggling with managing the conflict between family and school responsibilities.