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ERIC Number: ED521039
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 148
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-0030-6
An Examination of Freshman Student Attrition from the Fall Semester to the Spring Semester as Related to William Glasser's Choice Theory and Basic Needs
Price, Erin S.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Union University
Freshman student retention has become a major focus in higher education. The loss of incoming students is not only financially burdensome to the institution, but it can be academically and personally discouraging for students. Many theoretical constructs have been applied to the problem of student attrition, including the individual constructs of economical, psychological, sociological and spiritual influences, and the construct of institutional influences. Probably the most influential theory of student departure is that of Vincent Tinto (1993), who postulated that a lack of social and academic integration contributes to student withdrawal from an institution. Tinto's theory has informed much of the research that is found within the retention related literature; however, with freshman retention still at a loss of approximately one-third of incoming students from year to year, there remains room for researching additional and previously unconsidered areas of influence on student withdrawal behavior. The purpose of this study was to apply William Glasser's (1998) choice theory to the problem of college freshman attrition and to explore the relationship between need satisfaction based on choice theory and basic needs, demographic variables, and freshman attrition, specifically from the first semester freshman year to the second semester freshman year. The study assessed the strength of basic needs fulfillment satisfaction in first-time freshmen and examined possible predictive relationships associated with freshman attrition. Data were collected from participants enrolled in required freshman classes at two small, private universities in the South. Students were surveyed using the Student Needs Survey developed by Burns, Vance, Szadokierski, and Stockwell (2006), which includes questions designed to assess each of the basic needs as postulated by Glasser (1998). The basic needs include the need for freedom, fun, survival, power, and belonging. In addition, the survey included questions designed to collect information related to the predictor variables of gender, ethnicity, residency, intercollegiate athletic participation, curriculum placement, and first generation college status. There were 210 participants who completed the survey. The data were analyzed utilizing descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Need satisfaction profiles of both non-returning and returning students were identified. Findings of the study indicated that none of the variables were significant to predict enrollment status in the spring semester. The variables approaching significance included ethnicity and freedom, while variables worthy of further study included residency and curriculum placement. Although significance was not found, the findings did provide a starting point for future research and new considerations of possible factors influencing student withdrawal behavior. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A