Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Liu, William M.

First Committee Member

Ankenmann, Robert D.

Second Committee Member

Foley-Nicpon, Megan

Third Committee Member

Ali, Saba R.

Fourth Committee Member

Thomas, Volker K.


The aim of this study was to examine the relations between aspects of subjective social class, academic performance, and subjective wellbeing in first-generation and veteran students. In recent years, both student veterans and first-generation students have become topics of interest for universities, counselors, and researchers, as they are growing in numbers on university campuses. These groups face a variety of barriers to completing their academic degrees. One area with little investigation is the influence of subjective social class on these individuals. Therefore, various facets of subjective social class (Subjective Social Status, Beliefs in a Just World, Protestant Work Ethic, Materialism, Classism, and Financial Literacy) were examined to better understand their relationships with student subjective wellbeing and academic performance. Using several analyses, non-first generation student veterans, first-generation student veterans, and first-generation non-veteran students were compared based on their social class beliefs, attitudes, and priorities, as well as subjective wellbeing and academic performance. Results include several key findings. First, support was found for the Classism Attitudinal Profile’s position within the social class nomological network. Second, the subjective social class variables of materialism, financial literacy, and classism co-varied with participant’s college outcome expectations. Third, the three groups were found to differ in their subjective social class attitudes concerning status, materialism, classism, just world beliefs, financial ability, and social support. Fourth, subjective social class was confirmed to be a useful variable to consider when exploring academic performance and wellbeing. Overall, subjective social class and economic cultures appear to be useful constructs to consider when working with clients and conducting research.


Academic Performance, College Students, First-Generation, Social Class, Veterans, Well-being


ix, 191 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 152-165).


Copyright © 2017 Alexander James Colbow