Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Athena I. Perrakis, PhD; Noriyuki Inoue, PhD; Roger Pace, PhD; Ronald Riggio, PhD


college students, higher education, Interpersonal relationships, Psychosocial well-being, quantitative, social belonging, technology, university life, young adults


Postsecondary education marks a transitional time in the lives of young adults. During this time, traditional-aged college students confront a substantial number of developmental challenges that are extraordinarily diverse and complex (Evans, Forney, & Guido-DiBrito, 1998). Erikson's (1968) theory of psychosocial development posited that the major developmental task of early adulthood is to establish close intimate relationships. The development of mature interpersonal relationships (Chickering & Reisser, 1993) is a critical priority if students are to successfully integrate into their social worlds and persist to graduation. Early theoretical models proposed by both Spady (1970) and Tinto (1975, 1993) linked institutional commitment and persistence to the quality of students' integration into the social environment of the campus, with social integration referring to students' peer relationships and interactions with faculty. Social and academic integration into the college environment and persistence to graduation have been cited as major challenges for this population (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1980; Tinto, 1975, 1993). Social integration, or social belonging, is the central focus of this dissertation given the importance of students' sense of connectedness to others during the college years. Given the seemingly ubiquitous use of technology among college student populations and the potential influence of this use on students' social relationships, this quantitative study explored the associations among students' use of communication technologies, perceived psychosocial well-being, and sense of community in university life. Time spent using communication technologies and motivations for use emerged as predictors of students' psychosocial well-being and sense of community.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies