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College student resilience: Selected effects of service-learning

Dissertation
Author: J. Carol Mercer
Abstract:
Resilience implies the concept of buoyancy. Specifically, it denotes an individual's capacity to persevere and even do well in the face of adversity. Service-learning is pedagogy often used to enable students to apply classroom learning in a real world context. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of service-learning upon college student resilience. The study utilized a convenience sample of undergraduate students ( N = 172) across three disciplines including counseling, social work and kinesiology. In a pre-post test design, the CD-RISC was employed to measure resilience of the experimental and control groups. Factor analysis of the CD-RISC was also conducted in order to explore interrelationship of the variables among the data. One undergraduate sample ( N = 210) was used to conduct the EFA before determining a best fit factor structure for this study's population. A repeated measures analysis of variance was employed to detect any differences between pre-post test groups. No statistical significance was found across pre and post-test among the two groups (p =.49, η 2 =.00). However significant results were found between the experimental and control groups (p =.00, η2 =.09). Examination of mean score differences among demographic variable yielded interesting findings across the three disciplines as well as between age and gender of the participants. Findings indicated students given freedom of choice within service-learning logistics scored greatest gains in resilience.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ............................................................................................... iii LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................... vii LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................ viii Chapters 1. INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................... 1 Statement of the Problem ............................................................... 4 Purpose of the Study ....................................................................... 9 2. LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................... 10 Resilience ..................................................................................... 10 Definition ............................................................................ 10 History ................................................................................ 11 Protective Factors .............................................................. 14 Research in Higher Education ............................................ 15 College Student Development Theory .......................................... 17 Chickering .......................................................................... 19 Perry ................................................................................... 20 Service-Learning ........................................................................... 23 Service-Learning Roots in Higher Education ...................... 23 Definition ............................................................................ 25 Service-Learning Distinctives: Reflection and Reciprocity .. 26

v Reflection ................................................................. 27 Reciprocity ............................................................... 28 Service-learning Benefits ......................................... 29 3. METHODS AND PROCEDURES ............................................................ 33 Research Hypotheses ................................................................... 34 Definition of Terms ........................................................................ 34 Participant Selection ..................................................................... 35 Instrumentation ............................................................................. 38 Procedures .................................................................................... 40 Data Collection .............................................................................. 43 Data Analysis ................................................................................ 44 4. RESULTS ................................................................................................ 48 Factor Analysis.............................................................................. 48 Analysis of Variance ...................................................................... 49 Pre-Test Data ..................................................................... 49 Pre and Post Data .............................................................. 51 Clinical Significance ...................................................................... 56 5. DISCUSSION .......................................................................................... 57 Outcomes and Implications ........................................................... 58 Differences among Experimental and Control Groups ....... 59 Differences among Disciplines ........................................... 60 Differences among Age and Gender .................................. 61 Differences among Gain Scores ......................................... 62

vi Recommendations ........................................................................ 63 Limitations ..................................................................................... 64 APPENDIX: INFORMED CONSENT FORM ................................................................. 66 REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 69

vii LIST OF TABLES Page 1. Demographic Information for Participating Undergraduate Students .................. 36 2. Factor Pattern Structure Coefficient ................................................................... 49 3. One-Way Analysis of Variance for Pre-Test Data ............................................... 50 4. Pre-Test Data Descriptives for Experimental and Control Groups ...................... 50 5. Repeated Measures ANOVA: Within and Between Effects ................................ 52 6. Effects of Service-Learning for Experimental and Control Groups Across Time ........................................................................................................................... 52 7. Mean Differences for Experimental and Control Groups for Disciplines ............. 54

viii LIST OF FIGURES

1. Mean differences experimental and control groups pre to post-test ................... 53 2. Mean differences counseling, social work, and kinesiology pre to post .............. 55 3. Pre and post-test mean differences according to age and gender of those participating in service-learning .......................................................................... 56

1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Resilience has been defined as “the action or act of rebounding or springing back; the quality or fact of being able to recover quickly or easily from, or resist being affected by, a misfortune, shock, illness etc…”(Resilience, 2010). More specifically, resilience conveys the ideas of buoyancy, elasticity and adaptability. Masten, Best and Garmezy, (1990) referred to resilience not only as a process and an outcome but also as a “human capacity of successful adaptation despite challenging or threatening circumstances” (p. 426). Bernard (2004) encouraged educators to understand resilience as an innate capacity to be developed rather than a pre-existent trait possessed by some rather than all. Similarly, Reivich and Shattè (2002) identified resilience as a characteristic to be developed. They identified this capability as a “basic strength underpinning positive characteristics within a person’s emotional and psychological make up” (p. 59). They also stressed the importance of resilience as a source for consistent healthy functioning, while noting that a lack of resilience pre-disposes individuals to negative functioning. Decades of resilience research have addressed qualities, processes and concepts (Garmezy, Masten, & Tellegen 1984; Masten & Garmezy, 1985; Masten, Best, & Garmezy, 1990; Rutter, 1985; Rutter, Maughan, & Mortimore 1979; Werner & Smith, 1982; Zimmerman & Arunkumar, 1994). The majority of these studies however, have focused on primary and secondary students and adults, thus creating a gap in resilience research regarding traditional college students ranging in ages from 18 to 25. Today’s college students are referred to as “millennials” (Howe & Strauss, 2000) and are

2 acclaimed as the “next great collegiate generation” (Howe & Strauss, 2007, p. 213). Experts in generational research Howe and Strauss (2007) described millennials as mature, responsible, young people who value authenticity and community service; they go on to portray millennials as exhibiting seven core traits: team oriented, special, sheltered, confident, pressured, conventional, and achievers. Coomes and DeBard (2004) commended Howe and Strauss for their generations work and noted the overly positive characteristics conferred on millennials. Coomes and DeBard pointed out the humorous irony that Howe and Strauss are, themselves, millennial parents, and the optimistic proclamations regarding this generation fall right in line with Boomer parents descriptions of them. Other researchers and educators have also depicted some millennials as achievers, responsible, pressured, special but have also added varied perspectives of millennials as: (a) wanting immediate gratification and lacking in understanding as to why they are not able to get what they want – now, (b) children who have grown up overly protected, coached, pampered, and heavily grounded in messages of specialness; and (c) holding high – at times unrealistic – expectations of their own abilities, of others, and the world around them (Coomes, & DeBard, 2004; Sujansky & Ferri-Reed, 2009; Twenge, 2006). Howard, Schiraldi, Pineda, and Campanella (2006) commended millennials for their commitments to communities, respect and teamwork. They also cautioned that these inherent strengths may also usher in susceptibility to personal and psychological impairment. As high achievers, millennials seem to be acutely sensitive to internal and external pressures to succeed including: expectations of self, parents or guardians, and others. Additional pressures may also include: personal transition and adaptation to

3 college, academic success, financial concerns, interpersonal relationship concerns, and social justice concerns (Bishop, Gallagher, & Cohen, 2000; Howard et al., 2006; Kadison & DiGeronimo, 2004). It appears that students endeavor to deal with these pressures in several ways. Some effectively manage stress through healthy activities including exercise, eating balanced diets, cognitive strategies such as grounding and self talk, breathing exercises, talk therapy, or discussing personal issues with confidants as means to resolution and moving forward. Students who have not yet learned or assimilated effective methods of coping with external and internal pressures may attempt to deal with these forces through escapism, procrastination, withdrawal and other self-defeating behaviors such as binge drinking, unhealthy eating patterns, unsafe sexual practices or illegal or prescription drugs belonging to friends. These inappropriate responses place students at considerable risk for outcomes, which could result in physical, psychological, mental and/or emotional harm (McGrath, 2006). Students who are engaged in these self-defeating behaviors may be communicating their need for help. College counselors provide an invaluable service on college campuses as they offer mental health services to students; crisis intervention; as well as prevention programs and mental health resources for faculty and staff as they seek to help undergraduates face new responsibilities of young adulthood; new responsibilities that may be perceived by some students as added stress. Increasing pressures on millennial students combine with national reports of greater anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation in student populations, highlight a need for greater understanding of resilience, prevention, and intervention efforts to

4 foster resilience within and among undergraduate students. University professionals including college counselors have opportunity and obligation to contribute to students’ development and well being by educating students with necessary skills and opportunities to engender resilience, empowering them to gain from challenges inherent in college life and beyond. One such opportunity, service-learning, generates a hopeful possibility to strengthen college student resilience. Service-learning is an experiential educational activity and a pedagogical tool which immerses students in community service opportunities. Through service-learning, students apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations as they endeavor to satisfy needs within the local and campus community (Jacoby, 1996; Wilczenski, & Coomey, 2007). While service-learning has not yet been formally studied as a possible resilience building intervention; research demonstrates that participation in service-learning increases protective factors – defined as “supports and opportunities that buffer the effect of adversity and enable development to proceed” (Bernard, 2004, p. 8). Related studies indicate that proactive, empowering, and protective factors such as self-efficacy, personal growth, social awareness, social interactions, engagement, academic success, positive cognitive development, social interactions, self efficacy, career development, and spiritual growth can provide a meaningful framework for information (Astin, Vogelgesang, Ikeda, & Yee, 2000; Eyler, Giles, Stenson, & Gray, 2000; Kronick, 2007; Strage, 2004). Statement of the Problem Over 17 million undergraduate college students are projected to arrive on college

5 campuses in the next ten years according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (Planty et al., 2009). These new beginnings are exciting for many students and managed well by a sizable majority. However, there is reason for college and university personnel to be informed of possible concerns and hopeful interventions for cultivating student resilience in order to prepare students, faculty, staff and administrators to meet transitional challenges of moving toward independence. According to Gallagher’s (2009) most recent college counseling center survey, Millennials are arriving on campus with increasing severity of psychological issues. The beginning of college life brings new adventures both inspiring and disconcerting as students leave behind established family ties, friendships, and community involvement and moves into new circumstances with relatively few immediate supports. This change often leaves students lonely and uncertain, possibly resulting in heightened anxiety and depression (Mounts, Valentiner, Anderson, & Boswell, 2006). Stress and anxiety faced by students does not stop after the first critical six weeks or even after the first year. Academic and life stressors continue throughout the college journey. Twenge (2006) discussed anxiety and depression among college students. In her dissertation research designed to investigate generational differences, Twenge utilized anxiety assessment results from more than 40,000 college students between the decades of 1950s and 2000. She found that the average college student in the 1990s dealt with more anxiety than 85% of students from the 1950 students and 71% of students from the 1970s. College student anxiety and its effects continue rising. American College Health Association (ACHA) (2009) asked 34,208 college students at 57 institutions about their

6 stress levels in the last year. The study was conducted primarily with 4-year private and public institutions of higher education (n = 51) and was equally representative for schools across the northeastern (n = 19), southern (n = 18), and western (n = 15) United States. Midwestern states (n = 3) and 2-year colleges (n = 3) were largely underrepresented in the study. Of those who participated, 84 percent of these respondent students reported feeling overwhelmed by all they had to accomplish at some point; nearly half affirmed feeling overwhelming anxiety at times and 40% rated their stress levels as above average. Twenty-eight percent reported their stress had disrupted their academic performance and 46% said they had experienced feelings of hopelessness at some point in the previous year. Slightly more than 5% reported intentional self-injury and 6% said they felt so depressed that they had seriously considered suicide within the year. Students overcome by academic, emotional, cultural, and social, pressures may show signs of declining psychological and physical symptomology (Steinhardt & Dolbier, 2008). Students who feel anxiety and stress acutely, yet possess little understanding and knowledge of how to bring about change may contemplate suicide as a viable, possibly, only option for relief. Grayson and Meilman (2006) noted that some students demonstrate resilience by managing stress effectively, whereas others lack knowledge, skills or motivation to deal with existing pressure and therefore, turn to self-defeating behaviors to deal with stressful situations. Some students utilize and abuse chemical substances including unsafe levels of alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs of friends, while other students choose to participate in unsafe sexual practices.

7 Binge drinking, defined as consumption of large amounts of alcohol at one time, has become a serious issue on college campuses (Center for Study of Collegiate Mental Health (CSCMH), 2009; Galatas Von Steen, 2000). It is important to keep in mind that colleges differ widely in ratings of binge drinking; hence, the following reports are confounding. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2009) and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (2008) reported approximately 40% or two of every five college students surveyed reported they had participated in binge drinking at least once during the previous two week period. ACHA (2009) reported that 15% of college students surveyed indicated they had consumed seven or more drinks in one sitting at their last social gathering and 3.4% acknowledged driving after five or more drinks. These and abundant similar data document that problem drinking elicits dangerous consequences threatening the well-being of numerous college students (Gintner & Choate, 2007). In addition to the frequency and severity of drinking problems noted above, ACHA’s (2009) recent survey found substantial college student use of substances from tobacco to illegal drugs. ACHA noted that 13% of college students disclosed using a combination of drugs ranging from tobacco to cocaine, methamphetamines, and hallucinogens and 12.6% reported the previous month’s consumption of prescription drugs not prescribed to them indicate that 20% of fulltime college students use illicit drugs (SAMHSA, 2009). Although many college students have reported utilizing safe-sex practices (Eisenberg, 2001), ACHA (2009) revealed only 52% of students having intercourse

8 reported utilizing contraceptives. Others reported no use of protection or uncertainty whether their partner used contraceptives, placing themselves at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or unintended pregnancies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2009) recently reported record high numbers of STIs chlamydia and gonorreha, with over half of reported cases coming from young women ages 15-24. These and similar consequences of at-risk sexual behaviors generate formidable concerns among college students (Galatas Von Steen, 2000). These and similar studies portray a generation of college students who face considerable pressures and experience pronounced levels of stress compared to previous generations. It appears they might be less equipped than previous generations to deal with their stress. Perhaps there is a viable need for efforts toward prevention and intervention aimed at empowering college students to recognize and appropriate internal resilience qualities for perseverance and the strengthening of one’s inner resources to promote socially, mentally, emotionally, and academically healthy choices and greater college student life satisfaction and achievement. Resilience studies are not new to higher education. While there are numerous studies devoted to early concepts of resilience in undergraduate students; these studies were called academic resilience and focused on aspects such as persistence, hardiness and retention (Morales, 2008; Morales & Trotman, 2004). This investigator found few studies concentrated on psychological and personal resilience. Rather, the majority of resilience studies examined in comprehensive literature focused on persistence, hardiness, adjustment, retention, and specific protective factors such as self-efficacy which might affect these characteristics (Boyer, 2005; Carter, 2006; Chemers, Hu, &

9 Garcia, 2001; Gerdes, Mallinckrot, 1994; Lifton, Seay, & Bushko, 2004; Maddi, & Khoshaba, 1994; Maddi, Harvey, Khoshaba, Fazel, & Resurreccion, 2009; Tinto, 2006- 2007). In addition, assessments used in these studies were designed to measure specific protective factors such as self-efficacy (Niiya, Crocker, & Bartmess, 2004; Li, 2008) as opposed to resilience. This author found few studies employing resilience- specific instruments (Brown, 2008; Scarcia-King, 2007; Steinhardt & Dolbier, 2008) such as those used in the present study. Purpose of the Study The goal of this study was to investigate effects of service-learning upon college student resilience for purposes of discerning implications for practice and research. This study incorporated the use of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). The CD-RISC measures three over all levels of resilience (low, medium and high) visible through total scores (Connor & Davidson, 2003).

10 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This literature review centers on college student resilience, college student development and service-learning. Specifically, the focus was on resilience, including definition, history, protective factors of resilience, resilience as it applies to college students and college student development. The college student development section presents an overview of prominent student development theories by Arthur Chickering and William Perry and connects these theories to both resilience and service-learning. Finally, Service-learning portions of the literature review include service-learning roots in higher education, definitions and the critical components of service-learning and benefits of service-learning for college students. Resilience Definition Resilience encompasses a myriad of concepts, with synonyms including hardiness, endurance, invulnerability, adaptation, and persistence (Carter, 2006; Lifton, Seay, & Bushko, 2004; Walker, Gleaves, & Grey, 2006; Zimmerman, M.A., & Arunkumar, R., 1994.) The term “resilient” drawn from physical sciences, describes materials or substances, which are able to return to initial form once exposed to external pressures that bend, stretch and compress (Bosworth & Walz, 2005). Definitions of human resilience mirror this meaning but vary according to investigators and studies. Werner and Smith (1992) studied children raised in challenging conditions including parents managing mental illness, alcoholism and social economic backgrounds below poverty level. In this study, they defined resilience as “the

11 [child’s] ability to overcome these odds to become competent, confident, caring individuals” (Werner & Smith, 1992). Similarly, Henderson (2007a) defines resilience as “an ability to bounce back from adversity” (p. 9). Masten (2001) described resilience as a process of adaptations yielding positive outcomes in the face of challenges or obstacles (p. 228). These threats might range from tragedy and trauma to adversity, short-term hardship and ongoing life stressors (Newman 2005). Richardson (2002) summarized “resilience” by focusing on a “process of coping with adversity, change, or opportunity in a manner that results in the identification, fortification, and enrichment of resilient qualities or protective factors” (p. 308). Most recently, Zautra (2009) offers a two part comprehensive definition for resilience. First, resilience is about “recovery” (p. 1935) and a person’s (family, community and other groups) ability to face and rebound from negative life stressors. Second, resilience is about “sustainability” (p. 1936) or the human capability to remain and to carry on despite oncoming challenges. Thus, according to professional literature, resilience is defined as the human ability to prevail over stressors and toward growth, through threats and challenges. Resilience is described as the process by which one copes with change and life difficulties and emerges with increased stamina, determination, self awareness and self confidence. History In social sciences, resilience is a concept derived from longitudinal studies investigating child growth, development, coping and stress. Pioneers in resilience research include Garmezy (1971), Werner, Beirman and French (1971); Werner & Smith (1977, 1982); and Rutter, Maughan, Matimore, Ouston, & Smith (1979).

12 During a 1970 meeting of the American Orthopsychiatric Association, Garmezy (1971) presented fundamental research examining several studies regarding ecological factors of childhood contributions to adult pathology. Garmezy drew his colleagues’ attention to an unexpected and hopeful phenomenon in the literature: the “invulnerable child” (p. 114). He used this term to describe a percentage of children, in the study, who overcame detrimental ecological environments to live healthy and productive adult lives. Garmezy challenged the modern day malady-focused paradigm, which assumed problematic childhood equaled maladaptive adulthood and pointed out that these children had “upset predictive tables to [become] hallmarks of competence” (p. 114). His work introduced the term “invulnerable,” engendering the modern use and concept of resilience. Unbeknownst to Garmezy (1971), Werner, Beirman, and French (1971) in a simultaneous independent study, were publishing the beginnings of a concurrent longitudinal child development study, which would produce results concurring with the “invulnerable child” phenomenon. According to the majority of literature reviewed by this author, the Werner et al. (1971) longitudinal child study and sequel studies by Werner and Smith (1977, 1982) appear to be the foundation upon which subsequent personal and psychological resilience works are built (Riegel & Rosenwald, 1975). Beginning as early as 1954, a multidisciplinary team employed by the Department of Health, Hawaii, set out to understand child growth and development by following a cohort nearly 700 children from prenatal existence to 10 years of age. The goal of the study was to investigate effects of high-risk conditions such as: chronic poverty, disorganized home environments damaged by alcoholism or parental mental

13 illness on child development. In this first study, two-thirds of the children grew up in highly stressful home environments and developed serious behavior or learning problems. Unexpected findings revealed approximately one-third of the cohort matured into competent, well adjusted and high functioning adults (Werner et al., 1971). In order to learn more about this difference, Werner and Smith (1977) conducted and published findings of a second and third study focused on the same cohort of children as they progressed through adolescence into adulthood. In the final two studies, Werner and Smith contrasted the behaviors, care giving environments and outcomes of the “resilient” children and their troubled peers. Overall, resilient children were described by caregivers, pediatricians and teachers as: socially orientated, engaged, good reading and reasoning skills, achievement oriented. Resilient teens had a network of family and friends for support, one or more close friends and a role model; developed positive self-concepts and used internal locust of control. Finally, they found resilient adults living in contexts far from their traumatic upbringing (Werner & Smith, 1982). Rutter et al. (1979) conducted another longitudinal study focused on academic environmental influence in the lives of children and youth. They noticed students spend 15 thousand hours in formal schooling from kindergarten to high school graduation, thus giving educators optimal opportunity to foster an environment that builds in protective factors and cultivates resilience. Rutter et al. found that successful schools shared common characteristics of including fostering of self-esteem, maintaining and communicating high expectations, and consistent academic focus. Over time, the data showed a positive correlation between the presence of these characteristics and

14 student success. Inversely, data demonstrated a direct correlation between the absence of these conditions and problematic student behaviors. These pivotal works began studies in resilience that have continued for three decades and resulted in numerous beneficial findings for social science disciplines including psychology, psychiatry, education, and sociology (Bernard, 2004; Masten, 2001; Richardson, 2002). According to Bernard (2004) a myriad of significant accomplishments in resilience have resulted from these studies including the founding of the positive psychology movement, creation of various government agencies devoted to promoting resilience and overall health for children, adolescents and adults, as well as the establishment of international foundations for investment in the welfare of youth. This 30 year period also encompassed extensive study of resilience, with findings reported in various multidisciplinary journals and venues (Bernard 2004). Bernard also noted the exponential growth of attention given to resilience reflected in the Social Sciences Citation Index. In the 1980’s the Index included twenty- four entries of resilience. In the 1990’s there were 735 references to resilience and by 2004, the date of publication for Bernard’s book, research entries for resilience were well on their way to doubling the total of studies in both the 1980’s and 1990’s (Bernard, 2004). Protective Factors Other foundational resilience works include Garmezy, Masten and Tellegen (1984) and Rutter (1985). These studies elucidated the concept of protective mechanisms or protective factors which Garmezy et al. (1984) defined as the interplay of personal attributes, biological inclinations, circumstances and environmental

15 surroundings which “act to contain expressions of deviance or pathology” (p. 109). In other words, protective factors include interactions among and between internal and external factors, empowering an individual to forego maladaptive behaviors and embrace constructive and beneficial responses to the stressors they encounter. Internal protective factors may include personal strengths such as: flexibility or adaptability, tenacity, positive self efficacy or confidence in ones’ ability to succeed, leadership skills, emotional intelligence, communication skills, motivation to achieve, problem solving, and self-directed learning. External factors include: supportive relationships through family, friends, and mentors as well as caring and encouraging environments at home, at school and in the community. Protective factors are numerous and include individual/peer, school, family, and community factors. As one example, a list of 40 developmental assets was compiled through the work of the Search Institute (1996) (Bosworth & Walz, 2005; Henderson, 2007b; Milstein & Henry, 2008). Educators and school counselors have used these assets for identification and promotion of protective factors as well as for the development of healthy productive children and adolescents; thereby developing student’s resilience. Research in Higher Education Decades of research have addressed resilience qualities, processes and concepts. The majority of these studies have focused on children, middle and high school students and adults, leaving a gap in traditional college students ages 18-25. Though early studies were not devoted to studying college student populations, these pivotal research outcomes were still foundational for university and college

16 administrators, faculty and staff to begin rethinking the importance of college student resilience and its implications for retention. Resilience research in higher education began to take shape through academic attrition and retention research, which authors also referred to as persistence or hardiness (Boyer, 2005; Lifton et al., 2004; Tinto, 2006-2007). These are now more aptly termed academic or educational resilience (Morales, 2008). Academicians quickly noted through these studies that scholastic performance and resilience are intimately affected by a student’s personal and psychological beliefs about themselves, others and the world around them. As a result, a fuller understanding of personal and psychological resilience moved into focus for college student mental health practitioners (Banyard & Cantor, 2004; Emmons, 2007; Li, 2008; Parr, Montgomery, & DeBell, 1998). Rickinson (1997) showed that greater levels of anxiety lowered academic performance; she also found that by educating students with cognitive behavioral interventions as well as stress management techniques, undergraduate students levels of stress and anxiety were significantly reduced. Furthermore, Rickenson noted that all participating students in her study graduated. This research demonstrated beneficial results of utilizing resilience interventions to empower students to self-regulate their stress levels. Students coping skills improved thereby increasing a personal sense of resilience and ultimately motivation and persistence to graduate. Steinhardt and Dolbier (2008) also investigated student coping skills. In their study, undergraduates who participated in a resilience education program geared to increase coping strategies and protective factors of optimism, positive affect, self- esteem and self-leadership showed increased resilience and coping strategies including

17 greater problem solving, positive affect, self-esteem, and self-leadership. The resilience education program also appeared to reduce depressive symptoms, negative affect, and perceived stress. It can be inferred from this study that students who were taught to cultivate protective factors and resilience strategies, had better academic performance, increased likelihood of graduation and successful future handling of stressful life situations. Given the increased severity of mental health issues college students are bringing to campus, college counselors, educators and administrators would be prudent to find ways to empower students to identify protective traits, characteristics, and strengths within themselves. This strategy could provide motivation and inspiration to move students through challenges and obstacles one step at a time. College Student Development Theory Resilience and human development have been allied since the 1970s as researchers investigated the human capacity to adapt, persevere and overcome stress, hardship and conflictual surroundings (Masten & Obradovich, 2006). Early resilience research outcomes consistently implied the presence of an intrinsic human tendency for “self-righting”; a protective means for human development that rises above limitations of social class, ethnicity and geography (Bernard, 2007; Werner & Smith,1992). Therefore, Masten (2001) surveyed resilience literature and concluded that resilience was not an unusual occurrence rather a shared fundamental agency of human adaptation or development. According to Bernard (2007), after researching decades of resilience and human development, resilience studies have authenticated early theoretical models of human

Full document contains 90 pages
Abstract: Resilience implies the concept of buoyancy. Specifically, it denotes an individual's capacity to persevere and even do well in the face of adversity. Service-learning is pedagogy often used to enable students to apply classroom learning in a real world context. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of service-learning upon college student resilience. The study utilized a convenience sample of undergraduate students ( N = 172) across three disciplines including counseling, social work and kinesiology. In a pre-post test design, the CD-RISC was employed to measure resilience of the experimental and control groups. Factor analysis of the CD-RISC was also conducted in order to explore interrelationship of the variables among the data. One undergraduate sample ( N = 210) was used to conduct the EFA before determining a best fit factor structure for this study's population. A repeated measures analysis of variance was employed to detect any differences between pre-post test groups. No statistical significance was found across pre and post-test among the two groups (p =.49, η 2 =.00). However significant results were found between the experimental and control groups (p =.00, η2 =.09). Examination of mean score differences among demographic variable yielded interesting findings across the three disciplines as well as between age and gender of the participants. Findings indicated students given freedom of choice within service-learning logistics scored greatest gains in resilience.