The relationship between psychosocial development and acculturation among American Indian college students
Ecklund, Timothy R.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the patterns of psychosocial student development and acculturation demonstrated by American Indian college students and to determine if a relationship existed between these two processes. Two hundred and thirty-one college students between the ages of 18–24 who identified as American Indian participated in this study. Twenty-one predominantly white colleges or universities participated in the study. The Student Development Task and Lifestyle Assessment was used to measure psychosocial development, the Native American Acculturation Scale was used to measure acculturation, and student success was measured by self-reported grade point average. A correlational design was employed examining the relationship between psychosocial development and acculturation. Each instrument was scored and analyzed to evaluate psychometric performance, determine differences by gender and class year, and examine the relationships between all variables. A regression analysis was used to examine the extent to which demographic variables accounted for variance in psychosocial development, acculturation, and grade point average. No significant correlation was found between psychosocial development and acculturation. However, among the findings, the participants' scores on the SDTLA were found to be similar to or significantly higher than the norms established for the instrument. Differences in acculturation were found between male and female participants as well as between age groups. Several demographic variables predicted a significant amount of variance in psychosocial development, acculturation, and student success. Psychosocial development was also found to predict grade point average. The findings of this study are useful to the practice of student affairs and revealed several areas for future research. Importantly, this study provides data that will add to the limited research into American Indian college student development.