Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Timothy Herrmann

Second Advisor

Scott Moeschberger

Third Advisor

Steve Snyder

Abstract

Depression is a major issue among college students. Research is clear that depression is an increasing problem in college; approximately half of all college students will experience at least one period of depression during their college experience (Kadison & Digeronimo, 2004, p. 240; Westfield & Furr, 2001). Further, higher education literature emphasizes the importance of student involvement in regards to key issues including academic performance, retention, and personal development (Astin, 1999; Cress et al., 2001; Abrahamowicz 1988). This research sought to identify how a student's level of depression influences the extent to which a student is actively involved in the college experience. In order to gain these results, 412 senior students who completed the College Senior Survey (CSS) were studied to compare their level of depression to their level of involvement in three major categories: 1) academic involvement; 2) faculty student interaction; 3) extra-curricular involvement. Consistent with current research, 55.3% of students experienced depression during their college experience. Interestingly, the relationship between depression and involvement was not significant for any of the three types of involvement, indicating depression had little influence on student involvement. However, the sex of the student significantly influenced the level of academic involvement (female students were significantly more involved). Also consistent with research, female students were more likely to experience depression.

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