Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Marie Lynch


Community colleges have an important, civic mission to serve the educational needs of the public. Often, community colleges will serve a disproportionate number of students belonging to ethnic minority groups and students of lower socioeconomic status (Cross & Atinde, 2015). Unfortunately, community college students experience lower levels of academic success, often displaying lower academic achievement and degree completion (Dougherty et al., 2017; Rosenbaum et al., 2017). Many studies have sought to understand college student success and investigate ways to bolster student attainment. Research in the field of organizational psychology has developed theories related to psychological capital (PsyCap), psychological constructs that have been shown to have a positive influence on personal outcomes, including academics (Luthans et al., 2015). This study explores the influence of PsyCap on academic achievement in community college students. A total of 209 students attending a Northeastern community college were recruited to participate in this study. At the start of the semester, student participants were given a series of scales related to PsyCap, academic distress, and collegiate adjustment, and their GPA at the end of the semester was recorded. Parallel mediation analysis was conducted on the data to investigate effects between PsyCap and the mediating variables on GPA. Evidence for a complete mediation effect between PsyCap and academic distress was uncovered. This could suggest that PsyCap has a positive influence on student GPA, by reducing students’ amount of anxiety about academics, allowing them to be successful in their classes. The limitations and implications of this finding are discussed, and recommendations for policy and future research are offered.



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