Differences in academic and social integration and environmental factors among new, successful, and unsuccessful community college students

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

First Committee Member

E. John Kleinert - Committee Chair


The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which academic and social integration and external environmental factors played a role in the academic success of community college students. The relationship of these factors to selected demographic and academic variables was also investigated.Subjects were community college students drawn from randomly selected courses during the fall of 1995 and then classified into three groups: New Students (n = 640), Successful Students (n = 572), and Unsuccessful Students (n = 159). Academic and social integration were measured using the Institutional Integration Scale (IIS). The Life Change Inventory (LCI) assessed the impact of environmental factors on students.Analyses of variance indicated subjects in the Unsuccessful Student Group showed lower academic integration. Subjects in the Successful Student Group were also less affected by external events such as job loss, marriage, and/or illness. There were no significant differences in IIS scores among groups in social integration.Students requiring college preparatory placement and working less than 31 hours per week had higher social integration scores regardless of group membership. Females, Hispanics, and those not requiring college preparatory placement scored higher on academic integration, indicating that they had established linkages with the faculty and staff at the institution. Subjects whose first language was English, who had lost their jobs or who worked more than 31 hours per week had higher LCI scores, indicating they had experienced more external events.Overall, unsuccessful students failed to establish linkages with faculty and staff at the institution. This was manifested by their lower academic integration scores. The level of social integration, however, was not related to group membership. Successful students experienced fewer and less intense environmental life events. New, successful and unsuccessful students did not differ in number of hours worked, ethnic designation, gender, first language, income, job loss, high school GPA, and entry-level course placement.


Education, Community College; Education, Educational Psychology

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