Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Author's Department

Counseling and Student Development

First Advisor

Daniel P. Nadler


This study compared the sources of stress between first-generation and continuing-generation freshman female students, Caucasian and non-Caucasian freshman female students, and straight and non-straight freshman female students. This study was conducted at a rural, Midwestern, four-year, public institution, 101 first time freshman students living in on-campus housing participated in this study. A quantitative study was designed using Higbee and Dwinell's (1992) Developmental Inventory of the Sources of Stress (DISS) questionnaire which measures stress in five sub-categories including time management, physical lifestyle, academics, interactions, and chemical stressors. Results of the study indicated that overall, first-generation freshman females experience more total stress compared to continuing-generation freshman females and more stress associated with all five sub-categories of the DISS except for academics. Only total stress scores were looked at for the differences in Caucasian and non-Caucasian freshman females in which this study shows that participants identifying as non-Caucasian experience increase levels of stress. The total stress score was also the only score looked at when comparing the differences between straight and non-straight freshman female students. This study showed that participants identifying as non-straight experience increased levels of stress.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.