The relationship of college-generational status to psychological and academic adjustment in Mexican American university students at a predominantly white university
The literature on Latino college students, particularly at Predominantly White Universities, suggests that they are enrolling at higher rates at the beginning of the first year in college than prior years, but dropping out at higher rates than any other racial/ethnic group. For students whom are the first in their family to attend college, attrition rates are even more pronounced. In the present study, based on Bourdieu’s Social Capital Theory, group differences based on race/ethnicity and college-generational status were examined for reported anxiety, depression, and academic problems at the beginning and end of the first semester of students’ first year at a university. The results indicated that differences in reported outcome measures were greater when examined between college-generation Mexican American groups, rather than between racial/ethnic groups more generally. Additionally, it was hypothesized that for Mexican American first-generation college students, perceived family support at the beginning of the semester would mediate the relationship between academic self-efficacy and academic problems at the end of the semester. The results of the study provided support for this hypothesis, suggesting that perceived support from family, even when it is not entirely instrumental, offers benefits for first-generation Mexican American college students. Implications for future interventions, both pre and post-college entry are discussed.