Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services

Committee Director

Alan Schwitzer

Committee Member

Jeffry Moe

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh


Adjustment to college has been demonstrated to be a multifaceted process with several developmental challenges for young adults entering higher education. As colleges and universities in the United States increase in racial and ethnocultural diversity and as LGBTQ students become more visible on campus, it has become crucial to cater support services and interventions to their specific needs. This study used archival data to examine the relationships between gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, risk and resilience factors, and college adjustment in a sample of treatment-seeking students at four-year institutions nationwide. The data were analyzed using three three-way multivariate analyses of variances (MANCOVAs). The results indicated that cisgender men have poorer adjustment than cisgender women and that heterosexual persons have poorer social and personal-emotional adjustment than gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer/questioning students also displayed higher risk factors than their heterosexual peers. Finally, these differences in adjustment between demographics were mediated when risk and resilience factors were added. The findings of this study may inform theories of adjustment, college administration practices, and clinical practice.