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