Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

First Advisor

Nicpon, Megan Foley

Second Advisor

Kivlighan, Dennis Martin

First Committee Member

Ehly, Stewart W

Second Committee Member

Bermingham, Charles J

Third Committee Member

Bardhoshi, Gerta


Many colleges have devoted institutional resources to retention initiatives, particularly those targeting students who have been placed on academic probation, but assessment of academic enhancement courses for students on academic probation has generally been limited to correlational studies in which the entire intervention serves as the independent variable. This study, guided by that of Kivlighan et al. (2018), applied knowledge of therapeutic factors related to positive outcomes in group psychotherapy to academic enhancement seminars in order to determine whether the same factors might also be associated with positive outcomes, as measured by semester grade point average (GPA) and participants’ reported college self-efficacy and perception of the college environment. Ratings of therapeutic factors from 145 first-year college students enrolled in 11 sections of an academic enhancement seminar were modeled as predictors of change in participants’ grade-point average (GPA), college self-efficacy, and perception of the college environment. We did not find an association between any of the therapeutic factors and the outcome variables. The intraclass correlation (ICC) coefficient (ρ) for post-intervention semester GPA was 0.09 (p = .021), meaning 9% of the variance in adjusted post-intervention GPA was accounted for by a student’s course section. Further research is needed to understand differences in sections that contributed to this.


academic probation, retention, therapeutic factors


vii, 28 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 25-28).


Copyright © 2018 Kristin G Wurster