Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Brent S. Mallinckrodt

Committee Members

Jioni A. Lewis, Dorian L. McCoy, Joseph R. Miles


Despite efforts to increase underrepresented student enrollment, Students of Color continue to have significantly lower college retention rates compared to their White counterparts on many campuses. This study investigated associations between general ethnic discrimination, emotional adjustment to college, and attachment to college in Students of Color at one predominantly White public institution in theSoutheastern U.S. Students who were the first in their immediate family to attend college were compared to those with a parent who attended college. Social support from family and friends at home, as well as social integration in school were investigated as buffers of the impact of perceived discrimination. General ethnic discrimination stress was found to be a predictor of personal emotional adjustment. Social support and social integration were both predictors of personal emotional adjustment and institutional attachment. There were no significant buffering effects either for social support from home or from college. First-generation Students of Color were found to be at higher risk of experiencing lower levels of adjustment to college and higher frequency and stress of general ethnic discrimination.

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