Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Ali, Saba Rasheed

First Committee Member

Liu, William M.

Second Committee Member

Westefeld, John S.

Third Committee Member

Ehly, Stewart W.

Fourth Committee Member

Colvin, Carolyn


In this study, we conducted a qualitative exploration of the lived-experiences of underemployed First-Generation College Graduates (FGCG). The purpose of the study was to expand and promote a thoughtful discourse about a more inclusive and domain-sensitive approach to counseling underemployed first-generation college graduates. Participants’ consisted of seven underemployed first-generation college graduates in a small Midwestern city. Participants’ ages ranged from 22 to 30 years old (M= 27.8, SD=2.7). Of the participants, all were Caucasian (5 female, 2 male) and had graduated within the past six years. Using Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR; Hill et al., 2005; Hill, 2012), we conducted seven 60-minute semi-structured individual interviews. Five domains emerged from analysis of the results: (1) Messages concerning the college to work connection, (2) lived-experience of underemployment, (3) perceived barriers to adequate employment, (4) resources and coping strategies, (5) future outlook. Within these domains 10 categories and 29 subcategories emerged. A detailed summary of these results and implications will be provided.


first-generation college graduates, first-generation college students, underemployment


viii, 189 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 168-189).


Copyright 2016 Shane Gibbons