Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2020

Thesis Director

Richard L. Roberts

Thesis Committee Member

Jessica Ward

Thesis Committee Member

Jody E. Stone


This qualitative study examined the perspectives of Resident Assistants’ (RAs) in terms of job responsibilities, the interplay between job tasks and self-efficacy, and mitigating factors that impact the RAs self-efficacy. Mastery experiences, verbal persuasions, and staff dynamic were perceived as the primary mitigating factors that positively and negatively impact a Resident Assistant’s self-efficacy. Although not shared by all the participants, other migrating factors included vicarious experiences and physiological/affective states. Student affairs professionals should focus on the impact of staff dynamic, the why and how tasks are completed, and placing a greater emphasis on recognizing the work of resident assistants. It is important to put more attention into supporting Resident Assistants and enhancing their self-efficacy as the role becomes more complex and demanding at institutions of higher learning.