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The role of relationships and sense of belonging among first‑generation, low‑income youth on future college entrance

Lecy / Social Psychology of Education / April 2021


This study uses a subsample from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to examine protective factors for lower-income, first-generation students. A logistic regression model is used to explore the impacts of (1) gender, (2) race, (3) perceived sense of belonging during middle or high school, and 4) protective adult relationships on this population’s probability of attending higher education. The analysis reveals that being female and endorsing a stronger sense of belonging during middle or high school are both associated with greater likelihood of attending college. Race and protective adult relationships were not significant factors in predicting the likelihood of college attendance. The author explores the implications for these findings for both policy and practice and advocates for future research investigating which environmental factors exert the most influence on propelling low-income, first-generation students into higher education.

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