Motivation, College Integration, and Intentions to Persist Among First-Generation College Students: A Latent Class Approach

Tsai et al. / Journal of Career Development / February 2023

Female Latin student raising hand in class

The current study investigated the relationship between motivation to attend college, college integration, and persistence intentions among first-generation college students (FGCS). Participants consisted of 414 FGCS from two 4-year institutions in the mountain and southwestern regions of the United States. Through latent class analysis, this study 1) examined first-generation college students’ motivation profiles as characterized by intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, 2) described the characteristics of individuals in each motivation profile by examining the differences in personal characteristics across latent classes, and 3) examined the association between the outcome variables (i.e., college integration, commitment, and persistence intentions) and latent class membership. Three distinct profiles of college motivation among FGCS were observed, suggesting heterogeneous motivation orientations exist among the FGCS population. Students in the High Motivation group showed the most desirable outcomes among the three groups. Implications for career development theory, practice, and research are discussed.