A comparison of achieved developmental tasks and subtasks between Hispanic and non-Hispanic, White undergraduates at a private urban university

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education

First Committee Member

John Croghan - Committee Chair


The traditional college student concept in higher education is changing rapidly. Colleges and universities are expecting increasing numbers of minority and non-traditional students to arrive on their campuses. In addition to intellectual development, college is the place where several major developmental stages occur during the young adult college student's life. Unsuccessful resolutions of these developmental tasks may affect further development or may lead to personal adjustment problems. Unfortunately, there has been little research which focuses on the psychosocial development of Hispanic undergraduates on predominantly White college campuses.Therefore, the purposes of this study were (a) to measure Hispanic undergraduates' levels of developmental task achievements and (b) to assess Hispanic undergraduates' levels of subtasks achievements as measured to a comparison group of non-Hispanic, White undergraduates.Developmental task and subtask achievements were measured by the Student Developmental Task and Lifestyle Inventory (SDTLI), a standardized instrument. Data were gathered from 146 undergraduate students at the University of Miami in the Fall of 1996. Data were analyzed using parametric statistical tests, quantitative descriptive analyses, and group comparisons.Findings. (1) Hispanic undergraduates scored at lower levels of academic autonomy than non-Hispanic, White undergraduates; (2) Hispanic undergraduates displayed higher levels of cultural participation than non-Hispanic, White undergraduates; (3) Freshmen students of both ethnic groups scored higher than juniors and seniors on life management skills; and (4) Freshmen and sophomore students of both ethnic groups scored at higher levels than juniors on tolerance issues. The results indicate that higher education institutions need to address the academic skills of Hispanic undergraduates if they are to better serve and respond to these students. Further research is recommended to expand existing college student development theory or conceptual frameworks on Hispanic undergraduates.


Psychology, Social; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies; Education, Higher

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