A comparison between talking circles and mainstream student support groups for college life adjustment with Alaska Native students
AuthorWoods, Tina Marie
ChairDavid, E. J. R.
KeywordPeer counseling of students
Alaska Native college students
Minority college students
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAlaska Native college students are less likely to graduate within a four year time span, have higher drop-out rates, and have lower grade point averages compared to other students. In addition to the typical life adjustments, challenges, and stressors that come along with college life, Alaska Native college students also commonly face conflicts between their heritage culture and the Westernized systems of colleges and universities, which might make it more difficult for Alaska Native college students to successfully adjust to college life, perform well academically, and remain committed to completing their education. Thus, this study used an experimental design to compare two similar student support groups (Talking Circles or TC and Mainstream Support Groups or MSG) that were administered during an academic semester to determine which works better with Alaska Native college students for facilitating their adjustment to college life, academic performance, and commitment to completing college. Using an experimental, pre-/post-test comparison group design with 24 Alaska Native college students (TC n=10; MSG n=14), the results revealed that neither TCs nor MSGs increased levels of adjustment to college life and commitment to completing college. Furthermore, although the results showed that students who participated in TCs felt more satisfied and felt that they were heard better by their group compared to students in the MSGs., no evidence was found to support the effectiveness of TCs in improving adjustment to college life, academic success, and commitment to college. Along with the study limitations, future research and service implications regarding the use of TCs among Alaska Native college students -- and among Alaska Native Peoples more generally -- are discussed.
DescriptionThesis (Ph.D.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2013
Table of Contents1. Introduction -- A focus on Alaska Native college students -- The potential of talking circles in facilitating adjustment to college life -- Study aims and significance -- Overview of dissertation -- 2. Background and significance -- Overview of Alaska Native culture and history -- Contemporary experiences of psychological distress and historical trauma -- Pilot study: the talking circle -- The talking circle process -- The talking circle practice and history in Alaska -- The talking circle as practiced by various groups in various contexts -- The talking/healing circles with other indigenous groups of the North -- Circles for restorative justice and peacemaking -- Talking circles and mainstream support groups -- A comparison between talking circles and mainstream support groups -- Small steps: a focus on Alaska Native college students -- Adjustment to college life with Alaska Native students attending UAA -- Summary of literature review, research rationale, and significance of the study -- 3. Methodology -- Cultural advisory committee -- Design overview -- Participant recruitment -- Participants -- Measures -- Demographic questionnaire -- Student adaptation to college questionnaire (SACQ) -- Additional (time 1) questions -- Additional (time 2) questions -- Student performance survey -- Procedures -- All participants -- Talking circle condition -- Mainstream support group condition -- Data and sample management -- Quantitative data analysis -- Qualitative data analysis -- Specific hypotheses for this study -- 4. Results -- Participation and attrition rates -- Participant demographics -- Central analyses -- Effects on SACQ academic adjustment scores -- Effects on SACQ social adjustment scores -- Effects on SACQ personal-emotional adjustment scores -- Effects on SACQ attachment to the situation adjustment scores -- Effects on commitment to completing college -- Effects on other time 2 variables -- Supplemental qualitative responses -- Summary of results -- 5. Discussion -- Lack of demonstrated benefits of both conditions -- Lack of differences between conditions -- A glimmer of potential -- Implications for Alaska Native services -- Study limitations -- Conclusion -- References -- Appendices.
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