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Theses Doctoral

The Poor/Working-Class College Students’ Challenges and Resiliency Factors Scale: Developing the P/W-CRF

Reed, Rebecca

Social class encompasses the preferences, lifestyles, and behaviors of people in various social class groups in conjunction with the structural privileges that accompany certain social locations (Smith, 2010). Class-privileged college students typically come to campus with greater amounts of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1980) that afford them the luxury of understanding how to navigate the middle-class environment of college (Tett, 2000). Students from poor/working- class backgrounds are, on the other hand, often without the benefit of knowing the behavioral codes and expectations of college, which can lead to negative psychological outcomes in the form of lowered self-esteem, depression, and stress. As a construct, resiliency provides a framework for understanding how some poor/working-class students are able to succeed despite these potential negative outcomes and persist through college. The study aimed to measure the class-related challenges and resiliency factors that correspond to different levels of psychological outcomes using a scale called the Poor/Working-Class Challenge and Resiliency Factor Scale (P/W-CRF).
Data was collected using a sample of 253 four-year college students who identified as coming from a poor/working-class background. Participants filled out an online survey consisting of a demographic survey, original challenge and resiliency factor items, psychology outcome measures (self –esteem, depression, and stress), a social desirability scale, and previously validated classism and resiliency scales. Through factor analysis, two scales were generated. The first scale represented the challenges faced on campus, which was a 20-item, four factor scale with a good fit. The second, resilience scale, was a 24-item, eight factor scale with a poor fit. The overall challenge scale was found to show convergent validity with the depression, stress, and classism scales, and divergent validity with the self esteem and social desirability scales. The resilience scale demonstrated convergent validity with the self esteem and resilience scales and divergent validity with the depression and stress scales. In an effort to explore a stronger model fit for the two models, post hoc analysis offered a possible 18-item, six- factor resilience model, with a slightly improved model fit. The document will explore potential strengths and weaknesses of using these models. Finally, implications and suggestions for future research are provided in the following areas; a) Research; b) Theory; c) Clinical Practice; d) Student Affairs or Services; e) Policy; and f) High School College Counseling.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Counseling Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Smith, Laura
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 15, 2017