Personal Support, Self-Esteem And College Satisfaction Among Older Students: An Interaction Study

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Human Services


Richard E. Pearson


Academic guidance counseling

Subject Categories

Student Counseling and Personnel Services


Statement of the Problem. It was the purpose of this study to investigate the individual and interactive effects of personal support and self-esteem on college satisfaction among students age twenty-five and older.

Observation of these older students and a review of the literature on personal support, self-esteem, and adult learners have led to the premise in this study that personal support and self-esteem are significant factors for individuals dealing with stressful transitions. This research addresses the still unclear questions related to how these variables interact with each other in a specific transition such as attending college full time as an adult.

Method. Investigation of this problem was accomplished by selecting a random sample of 100 full time students age twenty five and older attending a community college and by administering three questionnaires to each participant. The subjects were asked to complete the Personal Support System Survey, the Tennessee Self Concept Scale, and the College Student Satisfaction Questionnaire. Sixty eight of the original sample eventually completed all three questionnaires and comprise the subjects from whom the data discussed here is drawn.

Conclusions. Analysis of the data revealed that these older students attach a high degree of importance to all types of support and are highly satisfied with the levels of support they receive in spite of a relatively short time period of support system stability. Support systems appear to be multi-dimensional in terms of both the types of people providing support and the types of support provided.

Correlational indices show a moderately strong positive relationship between all combinations of support satisfaction, college satisfaction, self-esteem, and the sub-category of emotional support.

Based on analysis of covariance college satisfaction varies as a function of personal support and self-esteem. Each of the variables when taken individually accounts for a statistically significant amount of the variance. When taken together they also account for a significant amount of the variance in college satisfaction.

Finally, discriminant analysis revealed four variables which differentiate between those individuals satisfied or not satisfied with personal support. They were college satisfaction, self-esteem, grade point average, and recognition (a subscale of college satisfaction).


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