CUP Undergraduate Research

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Health and Human Services



Degree Name

Psychology, BA

First Advisor

Reed Mueller, Ph.D.


The objective of this research was to assess differences in academic self-efficacy between demographic classifications, with special regard to differences between first- and continuing-generation college students. Additionally, I explored the relationship between levels of academic self-efficacy and perceived stress within the academic domain. Bandura (1997) coined the term self-efficacy to refer to the individual’s belief that they can take necessary action in order to achieve their goals. In this thesis, I aimed to measure the success of a written academic self-efficacy intervention within a college freshman sample, but the lack of sufficient matched pairs led me to modify the secondary hypothesis to instead measure the changes in academic self-efficacy between two time intervals. Regarding the primary hypotheses, the analyses revealed no significant relationship between academic self-efficacy and generational status, nor a correlation between academic self-efficacy scores and perceived stress scores. However, additional analyses were conducted to identify gender and race/ethnicity as areas of interest in student stress outcomes, as female participants and students of color reported significantly higher stress levels. This research was limited by a small sample size and limited generalizability. I made future recommendations to address these disparities and apply this information in a productive capacity.

Included in

Psychology Commons