College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 11-22-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ida Salusky, PhD

Second Advisor

Chris Keys, PhD

Third Advisor

Bernadette Sanchez, PhD


Social integration into the university is the most critical factor in predicting persistence for students, including first-generation college students. Yet social integration takes many forms. Researchers theorize that academic-oriented and marginalized-identity focused organizations have uniquely positive relationships with persistence for students generally. Yet other theorists consider organizational involvement to be an insufficient means of integration and persistence at a student’s institution. This dissertation compares these organization types and others to understand their relationships with first-generation students’ degree persistence. This analysis was conducted with a sample of 304 students from three institutions. Additionally, while longitudinal methods are inherent to persistence studies and the first two years of college have been identified as critical, recent studies have employed analytic methods that do not appropriately assess predictors that vary in effect over time. This study employs a Cox survival model with time-varying covariates to investigate the relationship between organizational involvement types and persistence over time within the first two years of university enrollment. Using these advanced methods to assess organizational involvement, aggregated based on persistence theory, this study found that organizational involvement of any type did not have a relationship with persistence for the first-generation students sampled from the three institutions studied.

SLP Collection


Included in

Psychology Commons