Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project


Kurt M. Gehlert, PhD, LP; Len Jennings, PhD, LP


First-generation college students are a growing subgroup of the college student population across the country. Their adjustment to college is often more complicated than their non-first-generation peers. The purpose of this study is to further explore and understand the psychological and social experiences of first-generation college students who have left their home, with an emphasis on their family relationships. Seven first-generation college students were interviewed using standardized open-ended interview approach and transcripts were analyzed using a grounded theory method. Two major categories stood out when grouping themes. Categories that were identified after data analysis include intrapsychic and interpersonal experiences. 18 themes emerged when analyzing recurrent subunits of meaning. The themes represented by the most subunits of meaning include a) lack of preparedness, b) pressure (relational), c) motivation (relational), d) level of connection/disconnection, e) sadness,. Implications of data and potential further research are also examined.


first-generation, college, student

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.