The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 32

Benjamin R. Meagher

through the sense of autonomy elicited by
having an environment that one controls. As
Altman (1975) notes, marking one's environment entails not just self-expression, but also
control-oriented motivations. That is, it reflects
the power of the individual over what takes place
in this space. Ulrich's (1991) theory of supportive design describes a perceived sense of control
as a crucial environmental dimension for alleviating stress. Subsequent research has demonstrated that control does predict less anxiety
in hospital contexts (Andrade & Devlin, 2015;  
Andrade et al., 2017) and greater job satisfaction at work (Lee & Brand, 2005, 2010). Thus,
students who have the freedom to create a room
that reflects their desires may benefit from the
sense of autonomy such a setting provides.

METHOD
Participants
Participants in this study consisted of undergraduate students (N = 254) enrolled in introductory psychology courses at a liberal arts
college in the Midwest during the 2019-20
academic school year. See Table 1 for additional
sample information. Inclusion in this analysis
was limited to students who resided in on-campus housing. At this college, housing consists
primarily of corridor-style residence halls with
a communal bathroom for each wing, with the
exception of one large building of suites reserved for upper-division students.

Measures
The measures reported here were part of a large
online questionnaire offered to all introductory psychology students that year. First, participants were asked to think about their room
on campus (i.e., the room that has their bed
in it). They completed 4-item measures of place
32

identity and place attachment on 7-point Likert
scales, adapted from Jorgensen and Stedman
(2001). Place identity items were " Everything
about my room is a reflection of me, " " My room
says very little about who I am, " " I feel that I can
really be myself in my room, " and " My room
reflects the type of person I am " (α  = .78). Place
attachment items were " I feel relaxed when I
am in my room, " " I feel happiest when I am in
my room, " " My room is my favorite place to be
on campus, " and " I really miss my room when
I'm away from it for too long " (α = .81).

	 Table 1
	 Characteristics of the Sample

	

	 Sample size	254
	 Mean age	
18.51 (0.80)
	Gender
		 Male	
		 Female	

32%
68%

	 Race and ethnicity
		 White/Caucasian	
		 Hispanic	
		 Asian	
		 Black/African American	
		 Other	

85%
6%
4%
3%
2%

	Class
		 First-year	
		 Sophomore	
		 Junior	
		 Senior	

76%
17%
6%
1%

	Roommates
		 Single	
		 1 roommate	
		 2 roommates	
		 3 or more roommates	

8%
69%
21%
2%

Note: Standard deviation shown in parentheses.

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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