Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Michael Paulsen

Second Advisor

Ernest Pascarella

First Committee Member

Michael Paulsen

Second Committee Member

Ernest Pascarella

Third Committee Member

Mary Noonan

Fourth Committee Member

David Bills

Fifth Committee Member

Paul Umbach


The present study examines the effects of first-year college experiences on undergraduate students' development of altruistic and socially responsible behavior - a critical college outcome that leads to significant public or external benefits and support. Furthermore, this study examines whether the effects of first-year college experiences on altruistic and socially responsible behavior vary between first-generation and non-first-generation students. To guide the study's investigation, human, social, and cultural capital theory are used as conceptual frameworks and college impact models - including Astin's Input-Environment-Outcome model, Pascarella's General Model for Assessing Change model, and Weidman's model of undergraduate socialization - serve as a theoretical guide. Using longitudinal, pretest-posttest data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, ordinary least squares regressions are utilized to estimate the effects of the college experience on first-year students' altruism and social responsibility. Findings from these analyses suggest that a number of first-year college experiences and participation in vetted good practices significantly contribute to undergraduates' development of altruistic and socially responsible behavior.


Altruism, Altruistic, College Impact, First Year, Social, Undergraduate


vii, 134 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 124-134).


Copyright 2011 Ryan David Padgett