Generational status of college students and academic outcomes: An examination of locus of control and self-efficacy
Petrie, Brandy L.
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First-generation college (FGC) students are students who are first in their immediate family to attend college. Previous research has suggested that this group of students is disadvantaged in a number of ways, as compared to non-FGC students; however, the current literature is inconsistent and inconclusive. As such, this study sought to determine whether there were differences in FGC students and non-FGC students in grades, locus of control, and self-efficacy. Additionally, this study examined whether differences in locus of control and self-efficacy, separately or together, moderated the relationship between generational status and grades. An online survey consisting of demographic questions and measures of locus of control and self-efficacy were administered to two public institutions in the Northeast yielding a sample of 947 college students. A series of Analyses of Covariance were conducted to answer the research questions, controlling for race and gender. There were no statistically significant differences between FGC and non-FGC students with regard to grades and locus of control; however, there were differences in self-efficacy with FGC students reporting lower levels of self-efficacy than their non-FGC student counterparts. Lastly, there were no moderation effects for locus of control or self-efficacy, individually or together, in the relationship between generational status and grades. Implications and limitations are discussed in greater detail, but this study suggests that not all FGC students are "at-risk" and should not be treated as such solely based on generational status.