Family involvement: Impacts on postsecondary educational success for first- generation Appalachian college students

Bryan, Elizabeth; Simmons, Leigh Ann
Publication Year:
Journal of College Student Development

First-generation college students face a number of barriers to academic success and completion of their degrees. Using Bronfenbrenner's (1989) ecological theory as a framework, qualitative research was used to examine the experiences of 10 first-generation Appalachian Kentucky university students (mean age = 21 years) and factors they attributed to their educational success. Content analysis was used to analyze the data. Seven themes representing participants' experiences in a university setting were identified: (a) close-knit families and communities, (b) separate identities, (c) knowledge of college procedures, (d) pressure to succeed, (e) returning home, (f) the pervasiveness of poverty, and (g) the importance of early intervention programming. Additional areas for research and potential policy adjustments for universities serving this population are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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