Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Kevin Winslow

Second Advisor

Roger "Mitch" Nasser Jr.

Third Advisor

Nichole Torbitzky


The mixed-methods study investigated the psychosocial development, identity formation, and academic persistence of undergraduate students involved in a Roman Catholic student organization at a private, non-sectarian university. The research framed members’ identity development in the context of Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory and Chickering and Reisser’s Seven Vectors of Student Development. The qualitative research relied on interviews, a focus group, and field observations to gather data on members’ psychosocial and identity development. Regarding psychosocial development, participants discussed that the organization helped them develop meaningful, intimate relationships. Participants also highlighted that the organization helped them to develop intellectual competence, discover purpose through religious participation, form identities structured in Catholic beliefs, and become tolerant in their relationships.

Additionally, the study investigated the graduation rates of Roman Catholic student organization members compared to other student religious organizations, the university’s six-year graduate rate, and students who self-identified as Roman Catholic. The quantitative analysis used a test of homogeneity of proportions and a series of two-sample z-tests for difference in proportions to compare graduation rates. Based on the analysis, the graduation rates of members were significantly higher than the university’s six-year graduation rate. However, graduation rates of members were not significantly different from students who self-identified as Roman Catholic. The statistical analysis also found mixed results for graduation rates of members compared to other religious groups.

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