• unlimited access with print and download
    $ 37 00
  • read full document, no print or download, expires after 72 hours
    $ 4 99
More info
Unlimited access including download and printing, plus availability for reading and annotating in your in your Udini library.
  • Access to this article in your Udini library for 72 hours from purchase.
  • The article will not be available for download or print.
  • Upgrade to the full version of this document at a reduced price.
  • Your trial access payment is credited when purchasing the full version.
Buy
Continue searching

An exploratory study of the relationship among perceived personal and social competence, health risk behaviors, and academic achievement of selected undergraduate students

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Darson L Rhodes
Abstract:
A sample of 656 undergraduate students from multiple sections of an introductory nutrition course, a personal health course, and a physical fitness course at a large Midwestern University completed one of four surveys. Using matrix sampling, each participant completed a survey measuring one of four personal and social competence constructs; coping skills, interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, or judgment skills; 11 health risk behaviors, and college grade point average (GPA). Descriptive statistics, correlations, and multiple regression analyses were calculated to determine relationships among these variables. Thirteen statistically significant correlations were found among personal and social competence constructs and health risk behaviors. Health risk behaviors statistically significantly correlated with one or more constructs of personal and social competence included: frequency of marijuana use, number of days cigarettes were smoked, number of days alcohol was consumed, incidences of binge drinking, incidences of driving and drinking alcohol, alcohol or drug use prior to last incidence of sexual intercourse, non-use of condoms during sexual intercourse, feelings of sadness or hopelessness for two weeks or more that resulted in ceasing some usual activities, and number of physically inactive days. Statistically significant correlations were found most often among perceived judgment skills and health risk behaviors and perceived intrapersonal skills and health risk behaviors. Variance in academic success due to perceived personal and social competence and health risk behaviors was limited. Only a small percentage of variance in self-reported, college GPA could be attributed to perceived coping skills and judgment skills, while no variance could be attributed to perceived intrapersonal skills or interpersonal personal skills. Also, few health risk behaviors accounted for any variance in self-reported, college GPA. Results suggest strategies to improve undergraduates' personal and social skills may reduce engagement in some health risk behaviors.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... i ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........................................................................................... iii LIST OF TABLES ......................................................................................................... vi CHAPTERS CHAPTER 1 – Introduction................................................................................ 1 CHAPTER 2 – Review of Literature ................................................................ 13 CHAPTER 3 – Methods ................................................................................... 48 CHAPTER 4 – Results...................................................................................... 69 CHAPTER 5 – Summary, Conclusions, Discussion, & Recommendations... 149 REFERENCES ........................................................................................................... 176 APPENDICIES Appendix A – Coping Skills Survey ............................................................... 185 Appendix B – Intrapersonal Skills Survey...................................................... 191 Appendix C – Interpersonal Skills Survey...................................................... 198 Appendix D – Judgment Skills Survey ........................................................... 204 Appendix E – Data Collection Procedures ..................................................... 210 Appendix F – Cover Letter ............................................................................ 211 Appendix G – Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Results Comparing Perceived Personal and Social Competence Mean Scores .............................................. 212 Appendix H – Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficients (r) of Removed Items ............................................................................................... 213

v

Appendix I – Linear Regression Analysis for Coping Skills Survey ............ 214 Appendix J – Linear Regression Analysis for Interpersonal Skills Survey .... 215 Appendix K – Linear Regression Analysis for Intrapersonal Skills Survey . 216 Appendix L – Linear Regression Analysis for Judgment Skills Survey ...... 217

VITA ......................................................................................................................... 218

vi

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE PAGE

Table 1 – Definitions of Selected PYD Project Criteria .............................................. 32 Table 2 – PYD Project Criteria and Corresponding Personal and Social Competence Subscales ....................................................................................................................... 33 Table 3 – Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents ages 12-18 .... 37 Table 4 – Search Institute’s Assets and Corresponding Personal and Social Competence Subscales ....................................................................................................................... 39 Table 5 – Selected Items from the YRBS ..................................................................... 54 Table 6 – Definitions of Personal and Social Competence Subscales .......................... 57 Table 7 – Artificially Dichotomized Health Risk Behavior Items ............................... 65 Table 8 – Data Analysis per Research Question ........................................................... 67 Table 9 – Demographics of Study Participants............................................................. 89 Table 10 – Frequencies, Percentages, and Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Perceived Coping Skills Items ...................................................................................... 94 Table 11 – Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Subscales of Perceived Coping Skills Instrument ......................................................................................................... 105 Table 12 – Frequencies, Percentages, and Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Perceived Intrapersonal Skills Items ........................................................................... 106 Table 13 – Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Subscales of Perceived Intrapersonal Skills Instrument ................................................................................... 123 Table 14 – Frequencies, Percentages, and Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Perceived Interpersonal Skills Items ........................................................................... 124

vii

Table 15 – Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Subscales of Perceived Interpersonal Skills Instrument ................................................................................... 134 Table 16 – Frequencies, Percentages, and Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Perceived Judgment Skills Items ................................................................................ 135 Table 17 – Measures of Tendency and Dispersion for Subscales of Perceived Judgment Skills Instrument ......................................................................................................... 141 Table 18 – Health Risk Behaviors of Study Participants ............................................ 142 Table 19 – Spearman Rho Correlations (ρ) Among Health Risk Behaviors and Personal and Social Competence Scales .................................................................................... 147 Table 20 – Point Biserial Correlations (rpb) Among Health Risk Behaviors and Personal and Social Competence Scales .................................................................................... 148

1

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

Background of the Problem College students throughout the country are engaging in a variety of health risk behaviors. Binge drinking, unprotected sexual intercourse, suicidal thoughts (American College Health Association, 2008), and illicit drug use (Johnston, O'Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2008) are just a sample of some the behaviors in which students are partaking. These behaviors result in a variety of tangible and intangible costs not only to themselves, but also to others. Perkins (2002) highlighted an extensive list of costs linked with one particular health risk behavior - alcohol misuse. These costs were divided into three categories: damage to self, damage to other people, and institutional costs. Damage to self costs included: academic impairment, blackouts, personal injuries and death, short and longer term physical illnesses, unintended and unprotected sexual activity, suicide, sexual coercion/rape victimization, impaired driving, legal repercussions, and impaired athletic performance. Damage to other people costs included: property damage and vandalism, fights and interpersonal violence, sexual violence, hate-related incidents, and noise disturbances. Finally, institutional costs included: property damage, student attrition, loss of perceived academic rigor, poor university-community relations, added time demands and emotional strain on staff at higher education institutions, and legal costs (Perkins, 2002).

2

A more specific tangible cost was estimated by a national survey conducted in the late 1980’s among students enrolled at some of this country's largest higher education institutions. It projected an average of $102 per student per year is spent on student health centers. At that time, this figure suggested that total

expenditures on student health care could exceed $1 billion

annually (Patrick, 1988). While these expenditures are not exclusively a result of students’ health risk behaviors, one can assume these costs are impacted by personal behaviors, one key determinant of health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [US-DHHS], 2000). Current total annual expenditures could be expected to be even higher. For the benefit of students, higher education institutions, and the population at large, it is imperative that universities learn more about factors that may prevent students from engaging in health risk behaviors.

Statement of the Problem Building personal and social skills in youth as a means to address health risk behaviors is supported by several elements relevant to health education, including the National Health Education Standards (NHES) (Joint Committee on National Education Standards, 2007), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Characteristics of an Effective Health Education Curricula (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [CDC- NCCDPHP] (2008a), resiliency research (Benard, 2004), and Pittman and Cahill’s (1992a) youth development framework. Similar elements to guide health education at the post secondary level, however, do not exist. The assumption may be that youth entering colleges and universities have the personal and social skills necessary for high levels of

3

health literacy. Data from surveys, such as the 2008 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (American College Health Association [ACHA], 2008) and the 2007 Monitoring the Future (Johnston et al., 2008) survey, however, indicated otherwise. Further, research focusing on personal and social competence in the college aged population is limited. Therefore, the ability of universities to best meet the needs of their students is inhibited.

Need for the Study While colleges and universities do offer a variety of health related programs and services to address the needs of their students, a substantial number of students enter these institutions with already established health risk behaviors (CDC, 2008). Further, students living independently are confronted with an increased number of situations where they must communicate needs, make decisions, set personal and professional goals, and manage stress. These situations, if not addressed effectively, coupled with increased responsibilities associated with living independently not only could lead to health problems, but also could affect academic achievement and retention. Unfortunately, guidelines, such as those to assist K-12 schools in offering the most effective health education programs, do not exist at the college level. Further, while a substantial body of research exists indicating positive outcomes associated with personal and social competence in youth (Benard, 2004), scarce research exists on the broad concept of personal and social competence in college-age youth and its relationship to health risk behaviors and academic success. Most research in this population pertains to isolated skills and its relationship to a specific risk behavior. Lack of additional

4

research potentially prevents post-secondary institutions from being able to offer the most effective health education programs and services to their students. To provide the most appropriate health education and support programs, higher education institutions need to know more about the level of personal and social competence of their students. Further, the relationship of these skills to the health risk behaviors of students and academic achievement also needs to be explored. Such information will allow these institutions to plan interventions and educational approaches accordingly, thereby assisting in reduction of health risk behaviors of college students and minimizing the tangible and intangible costs related to these behaviors.

Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among perceived personal and social competence, selected health risk behaviors, and academic achievement of selected undergraduate students.

Research Questions The following research questions were determined for this study: 1. What are the self-reported perceptions of personal and social competence (intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, coping skills, and judgment skills) among selected undergraduate students? 2. What are the self-reported health risk behaviors among selected undergraduate students?

5

3. Do statistically significant correlations exist among perceptions of personal and social competence and health risk behaviors? 4. How much variance in self-reported, college grade point average can be accounted for by perceived personal and social competence and selected health risk behaviors?

Significance of the Study If a positive correlation between low personal and social competence and high risk behaviors is found in this study, multiple implications exist for health education. First, the manner in which personal health education classes typically are taught at the post-secondary level may need to be reconsidered. A skills based approach to health education, including interactive learning strategies similar to those indicated by the National Health Education Standards (Joint Committee on National Education Standards, 2007) and the CDC-NCCDPHP’s Elements of an Effective Health Education Curricula (2008a) (i.e. “best practice”) for grades K-12 should be implemented. This type of instruction may necessitate smaller class sizes and appropriate professional development of instructors. The quality of these courses potentially could be assessed based upon a pre/post assessment of students’ perceived personal and social competence. Further, professional preparation of undergraduate school health education majors should be reviewed to ensure inclusion of an instructional strategies course based on “best practice.” Similar preparation needs to be made at the graduate level for health education doctoral students as these students often are responsible for teaching personal health courses at colleges and universities.

6

In addition to implications for health education, at the conclusion of this research, the university under study will have a better understanding of perceived personal and social competence (interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, coping skills, and judgment skills) of its undergraduate students. Also, the relationship of how these constructs relate to selected health risk behaviors and academic achievement will be known. This information may be useful to the university’s wellness center in planning health education interventions, and other university personnel, such as those in student affairs, to better prepare for and accommodate students based on their skill levels and health risk behaviors.

Research Design Correlational research investigates how variations in one factor relate to variations in one or more other factors based upon correlation coefficients (Isaac & Michael, 1995). A descriptive, correlational design was used in this exploratory, cross-sectional study. Matrix sampling was used to determine perceived personal and social competence of participants. Each participant completed one of four surveys. Each survey measured one of the following personal and social competence skill sets: intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, coping skills, and judgment skills. Additionally, all surveys included items about selected health risk behaviors, the 13-item version of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Reynolds, 1982), and demographics. This research described perceptions of personal and social competence among selected undergraduate students as well as their reported health risk behaviors. Relationships among perceived personal and

7

social competence, health risk behaviors, and college grade point average, as a measure of academic achievement, were examined.

Study Sample A convenience sample of undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory, general education nutrition course, personal health course, or physical fitness course at a large, Midwestern university during Spring 2009 was used. All students in attendance the day of survey administration who voluntarily consented to participate completed one of four surveys. Students 22 years old and over were included in the study sample, but their data were excluded from analysis.

Instrumentation Four surveys measuring perceived personal and social competence (i.e. intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, coping skills, and judgment skills) were used (Fetro, 2000). Each construct was divided into multiple subscales. One of four constructs was assessed in each survey. Health risk behavior and demographic items as well as the social desirability scale on each of the four surveys were identical. Health risk behavior items were selected from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (CDC- NCCDPHP, 2008c). The 13-item short version of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960) also was included.

8

Data Collection Procedures Upon approval from the Human Subjects Committee and doctoral dissertation committee as well as permission of instructors, data were collected during a Spring 2009 regular class session. Surveys were distributed along with a cover letter to further explain the research study and a scantron form to be used to record student responses.

Data Analysis Data collected from participants who reported being 18-21 were included in the analysis. Data were analyzed using SPSS 17.0. Appropriate statistics were computed to address the research questions and included: frequencies, percentages, measures of central tendency and dispersion, Spearman’s rho correlation, point biserial correlation, and multiple regression.

Assumptions In this study, the following assumptions were made: 1. Study participants responded to survey items based upon their current perceptions. 2. Survey items were interpreted by participants as the researcher intended for them to be interpreted. 3. The surveys were valid and accurately measured each of the intended constructs. 4. The surveys were reliable.

9

Limitations Limitations are those characteristics of a study that set parameters on or limit the application or interpretation of the study’s results (Cline, n.d.). The following limitations applied to this study: 1. A convenience sample was used which limited generalizability of results. 2. Only students who were present the day of survey administration and voluntarily consented participated in the study. 3. The length of the survey may have prevented some students from completing it. 4. Variables other than perceptions of personal and social competence that may influence students’ participation in health risk behaviors were not explored and may have influenced results. 5. Given that the survey was administered in the second semester of an academic year, some students, particularly those with the lowest perceived personal and social competence, may already have dropped out of the university and affected the overall pool of responses. 6. As data collection occurred near the end of the semester, perceptions of personal and social competence may have been affected by instructional material covered within the courses sampled.

Delimitations Delimitations are characteristics of a study that limit the scope of the inquiry as determined by researcher (Cline, n.d.). The following delimitations were imposed by the researcher:

10

1. Participants were delimited to those students enrolled in a general education introductory nutrition course, personal health course, or physical fitness course at a large, Midwestern university in the Spring 2009 semester. 2. Participants were delimited to those students who were ages 18-21. 3. The health risk behaviors of participants were delimited only to those included in the survey. 4. Only one fourth of the participants responded to items measuring each personal and social competence skill set: intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, coping skills, and judgment skills.

Definition of Terms The following operational definitions were used in this study: Coping skills: “ability to adapt, be flexible, assume responsibility” (Pittman & Cahill, 1992a, p. 20) Health literacy: “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (US-DHHS, 2000, p. 11:20) Interpersonal skills: “ability to work with others, develop friendships and relationships through communication, cooperation, empathy, and negotiation” (Pittman & Cahill, 1992a, p. 20) Intrapersonal skills: “ability to understand emotions and practice self-discipline” (Pittman & Cahill, 1992a, p. 20)

11

Judgment skills: “ability to plan, evaluate, make decisions, and solve problems” (Pittman & Cahill, 1992a, p. 20) Personal and social competence: “includes having a variety of intrapersonal skills, interpersonal skills, coping skills, and judgment skills” (Pittman & Cahill, 1992a, p. 20) Resiliency: “dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity” (Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000, p. 543) Youth development: “the ongoing process in which all young people are engaged and invested. Through youth development, young people attempt to meet their basic personal and social needs and to build competencies necessary for successful adolescent and adult life” (Pittman & Cahill, 1992b, p. 36).

Summary College students partake in numerous health risk behaviors. These health risk behaviors result in a variety of tangible and intangible costs to individuals and to the higher education institutions. National guidelines and research exist that can assist K-12 schools in developing and/or implementing the most effective health education to students and include support for building personal and social competence. Comparable documents are not available to guide higher education institutions. Higher education institutions need to know more about the personal and social competence of their students and any links these skills may have with health risk behaviors and academic achievement so that this knowledge can be used to inform health education programs at this level. To address this need, a cross-sectional study with a correlational research design was used to

12

determine the relationship among perceived personal and social competence, health risk behaviors, and grade point average of selected undergraduate students. Chapter one included the background and statement of the problem, need for and purpose of the study, research questions, and significance of the study. An overview of the research design and procedures also was provided. Chapter two will review literature relevant to the study.

13

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW

Overview The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among perceived personal and social competence, selected health risk behaviors, and academic achievement of selected undergraduate students. This chapter will review literature relevant to this study. This literature is divided into the following sections: health risk behaviors, health literacy, resiliency, youth development, effective health education curriculum, and supporting evidence for effective health education. The health risk behavior section provides an overview of the risky behaviors in which college students are engaging and the impact on academic achievement these behaviors may have, while the health literacy section offers an overview of the national priorities of health educators. The resiliency section summarizes the research that lead to the youth development movement, which helped provide a foundation upon which benchmarks for effective health education could be established. These benchmarks support the inclusion of personal and social competence skill building for students.

Health Risk Behaviors Despite preventive health services and treatment options offered by colleges and universities throughout the United States, many college students still engage in behaviors that place them at risk for serious health problems. Data from the Spring 2008 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA)

14

(ACHA, 2008), which included a sample of 80,121 students from 106 self-selected post- secondary schools, indicated 70.1% of students reported being sexually active within the last school year, while only 53.5% of these students reported using a condom the last time they had vaginal sexual intercourse and 27.7% reported using a condom the last time they had anal sexual intercourse. Further, 82.6% of students reported using alcohol within the last 30 days. Many of these students reported experiencing a variety of alcohol related consequences. These consequences included: 35.4% did something they regretted, 30.9% forgot where they were and/or what they had done, 18.6% were physically injured, and 14.5% had unprotected sex. Also, 58.6% reported eating fewer than 3 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and 54.6% reported having vigorously exercised for at least 20 minutes fewer than 3 of the last 7 days before taking the survey. The emotional wellbeing of students is compromised as 43.0% reported feeling so depressed it was difficult to function within the last school year, and 9.0% of students seriously considered suicide in the previous school year (ACHA, 2008). Further, 12.4% of students reported being in an emotionally abusive relationship within the last school year, and 2.0% were in a physically abusive relationship within the last school year. Monitoring the Future is a nationally representative survey that elicits data regarding drug use from individuals in eighth grade up to age 45 (Johnston et al., 2008). These data are separated into many subpopulations, one being college students. The 2007 results of the Monitoring the Future survey indicated 35.0% of college students used illicit drugs in the last year, while 19.3% of college students used illicit drugs within the last 30 days. Further, 19.9% of college students smoked cigarettes with the last 30 days, while 46.8% reported having been drunk within the last 30 days.

15

In addition to collecting data about drug use, the survey also elicited information about drug perceptions including availability, use by friends, exposure, and harmfulness. Of 19-22 year old respondents, 55.8%, 47.3%, and 88.4% respectively said it would be fairly easy or very easy to get amphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana. Additionally, these data indicated 14.5% of 19-22 year olds estimated most or all of their friends used illicit drugs of some kind, and 32.0% estimated most or all of their friends get drunk at least once a week. Further, 67.4% of 19-22 year olds estimated being around people within the last year who were using an illicit drug. Only 38.4% of 19-22 year olds, however, thought a person was at a great risk for harm if he/she took amphetamines once or twice, while 55.8% thought there was a great risk in trying cocaine once or twice. Regular marijuana use was perceived as posing a great risk of harm to only 50.4% of 19-22 year olds (Johnston et al., 2008). While college students are engaging in health risk behaviors, many high school students also are partaking in similar behaviors. The most recent findings of the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) (CDC, 2008) reported the following data about high school seniors: • 18.3% drove a vehicle within the last 30 days after they had been drinking alcohol. • 15.5% carried a weapon (e.g., gun, knife or club) within the last 30 days. • 28.0% were in a physical fight within the last year. • 13.5% seriously considered attempting suicide within the last year. • 26.5% smoked cigarettes within the last 30 days. • 36.5% had 5 or more drinks of alcohol in a row within the last 30 days.

16

• 25.1% smoked marijuana within the last 30 days. • 4.4% used cocaine within the last 30 days. • 52.6% had sexual intercourse within the last three months. • 22.4% have had sexual intercourse with 4 or more persons in their life. • 33.1% drank at least one non-diet soda everyday for the last 7 days. • 81.4% did not eat fruits or vegetables five or more times per day each day for the last 7 days. • 10.9% did not eat for 24 or more hours to lose weight or keep from gaining weight within the last 30 days. • 20.1% played video/computer games or used a computer for something other than school work 3 or more hours per day on an average school day. Many of these high school seniors will enter colleges and universities across the country as 69% of them did in 2005 (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2007). As these high school seniors transition into post-secondary institutions, engagement in health risk behaviors likely may continue or increase. Specifically, in White and Swartzwelder’s (2009) research with more than 4,500 incoming students from three universities, results indicated many students brought risky drinking behaviors with them to college. Participants in their research self-reported their alcohol consumption behaviors over the two-week period prior to the survey during the summer before their freshmen year in college. More than 50% of respondents had drunk alcohol in the two-weeks before the survey, while nearly 30% of all respondents had engaged in binge drinking. Further, of those respondents who reported drinking in the

17

previous two weeks, more than 11% also reported blacking out at least once after drinking and more than 10% drove after drinking. Implications of these behaviors for college and high school students’ physical health may be readily apparent, but the impact such actions have on their academic achievement must also be considered. College students indicated, in the Spring 2008 ACHA-NCHA, their academic performance was negatively impacted by a variety of health related factors. A total of 16.1% of students reported depression/anxiety disorder/seasonal affective disorder having a negative impact; 15.9% indicated relationship difficulty negatively impacted their academic performance; 25.6% reported sleep difficulties having a negative impact; and 33.9% indicated stress negatively affected their academic performance within the last school year (ACHA, 2008). Additional research with adolescents also indicated a link between risk behaviors and academic achievement. Martins and Alexandre (2009) conducted an analysis of data from the 2002-2005 surveys of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2007) and the 2001 and 2003 YRBS (CDC, 2008). Results indicated that adolescents who reported using ecstasy, marijuana, and/or alcohol/tobacco also reported low or moderate academic achievement based upon letter grades received in classes. Silver and Bauman (2006) noted in their research with more than 1000 inner-city adolescents, ages 14-17, an association between sexual experience and academic achievement. Of those adolescents who had engaged in oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse, they were also more likely to have dropped out of high school, repeated a grade in school, and reported lower grades than their inexperienced counterparts. Also, the sexually

Full document contains 230 pages
Abstract: A sample of 656 undergraduate students from multiple sections of an introductory nutrition course, a personal health course, and a physical fitness course at a large Midwestern University completed one of four surveys. Using matrix sampling, each participant completed a survey measuring one of four personal and social competence constructs; coping skills, interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, or judgment skills; 11 health risk behaviors, and college grade point average (GPA). Descriptive statistics, correlations, and multiple regression analyses were calculated to determine relationships among these variables. Thirteen statistically significant correlations were found among personal and social competence constructs and health risk behaviors. Health risk behaviors statistically significantly correlated with one or more constructs of personal and social competence included: frequency of marijuana use, number of days cigarettes were smoked, number of days alcohol was consumed, incidences of binge drinking, incidences of driving and drinking alcohol, alcohol or drug use prior to last incidence of sexual intercourse, non-use of condoms during sexual intercourse, feelings of sadness or hopelessness for two weeks or more that resulted in ceasing some usual activities, and number of physically inactive days. Statistically significant correlations were found most often among perceived judgment skills and health risk behaviors and perceived intrapersonal skills and health risk behaviors. Variance in academic success due to perceived personal and social competence and health risk behaviors was limited. Only a small percentage of variance in self-reported, college GPA could be attributed to perceived coping skills and judgment skills, while no variance could be attributed to perceived intrapersonal skills or interpersonal personal skills. Also, few health risk behaviors accounted for any variance in self-reported, college GPA. Results suggest strategies to improve undergraduates' personal and social skills may reduce engagement in some health risk behaviors.