The college experience: Protective factors and psychological well-being


Midili, Gina (2013). The college experience: Protective factors and psychological well-being.


The purpose of this study is to identify protective factors in college student development as they relate to psychological well-being (PWB). Using archival data from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) dataset, this research was guided by a blend of models and constructs to capture the association between college student development, protective factors, and PWB. The research questions for this study were: In what way can the Chickering and Reisser (1993) model be evaluated using data from a nationally representative sample of college students? What will testing the model explain about the independence of the theorized vectors in college student development? If there is evidence to support the independence of these vectors, is there evidence to suggest they may function as protective factors in PWB? Will the psychometric properties of the associated scale scores be sufficient to evaluate the vectors as protective factors in PWB in the college student population? Utilizing a subset of the Add Health dataset, 742 of college students, results of this study had two significant findings. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) partially validated the Chickering and Reisser (1993) model by confirming six out of the seven vectors with varying levels of internal consistency. Independence of these factors was confirmed through correlation analysis. Multiple regression analysis was employed to explore the protective nature of these vectors, and a strong regression model emerged confirming four vectors as significant and positive predictors of PWB: Establishing Identity, Achieving Competence, Mature Interpersonal Relationships (Romantic relationships) , and Managing Emotions (F(7, 741) = 49.50, p < .001, R2 = .321).

This study contributes to the literature on college student well-being in that it appears to be the first study that has utilized a nationally representative dataset to (a) test the Chickering and Reisser (1993) model, and (b) explore Chickering and Reisser vectors as protective factors in college student PWB. This study offers recommendations on (a) how future researchers might utilize the Add Health data set for further explorations of the Chickering and Reisser model, and (b) how student services and university counseling centers might utilize the results of this study to develop interventions and programs targeted toward bolstering college student PWB.



Multiple regression analysis archival data associated scale scores college student college student development college student population college student well-being college students correlation analysis positive predictors protective factors protective

Reference Type


Book Title

California School of Professional Psychology


Midili, Gina

Series Author(s)

Henderson, Sheila

Year Published


Volume Number





Alliant International University

City of Publication

Ann Arbor, MI





Reference ID