Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Catherine Glenn

Committee Director

Alan Meca

Committee Member

Abby L. Braitman

Committee Member

James M. Henson


First-generation college students (FGCS) comprise approximately 56% of the U.S. post-secondary institution population, yet they face substantially more academic, financial, and additional unique issues than continuing-generation college students. Research on FGCS has been steadily growing in recent years, however, literature on identity for this population is sparse. To address these gaps in the literature, the aim of the current study was to adapt, validate, and establish full factorial measurement invariance across Black and White FGCS for a multidimensional quantitative measure of first-generation college student identity. The final sample included 425 current FGCS (81.2% female; Mage = 24.4 years, SD = 8.0) who identified as either Black, African American, Afro-Caribbean, Black African, Other in this category (n = 196, 46.1%) or Caucasian, White, European American, White European, Other in this category (n = 229, 53.9%). Participants completed an online survey to assess FGCS identity and related constructs. Results yielded a 17 item four-factor FGCS identity scale with good internal consistency scores and provided support for full factorial measurement invariance across Black and White FGCS. Additionally, Black FGCS reported significantly higher FGCS identity exploration and centrality than their counterparts, White FGCS. Finally, external validity was established through associations with related constructs. These findings are the first, to my knowledge, to provide psychometric evaluation of a measure modified to assess FGCS identity so future studies may determine the degree to which this identity domain may moderate the relationship between stressors and well-being. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.


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