Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2 - 66

Community Association:
Exploring Interaction Effects Between
Gender and Student Housing Type
STUDENTS' SENSE OF COMMUNITY is at the heart of their college success

and can be impacted by many factors, including staff, programming, and hall design,
as well as demographic variables such as age, ethnicity, and gender. The purpose
of this study is to investigate how gender and student housing type at a faith-based
institution influence sense of community (SOC). In this study 350 undergraduate
students (241 women, 109 men, M age = 18.24 years; SD = 0.48) enrolled at an
urban faith-based university responded to questions about their perceived sense
of community in relation to their residential environment. Multiple analyses of
covariance assessed participants' membership, purpose of belonging, fulfillment
of needs, emotional support, and development of relationships in connection to
housing type. While gender alone did not significantly impact sense of community,
the interaction effect between gender and student housing type was found to be
significant. Findings highlight the differentiated community experiences of men
and women within residential settings, suggesting that community association
is actualized differently based on students' gender and the design of residence
halls. Limitations and future directions are discussed.

R

eceiving ample attention throughout
the last five decades as an important
construct in the field of community psychology, sense of community (SOC)
continues to be investigated through scholarly endeavors. Social scientists employ the
concept of sense of community as a lens to
understand a " mutually supportive network
of relationships " (Sarason, 1974, p. 1). As a
framework, the development of personal
relationships can be seen as the foundation
that prevents sustained feelings of loneliness and isolation and nurtures a sense of

dependability among community members
(McMillan & Chavis, 1986; Sarason, 1974).
When members' needs are met through their
association and commitment to one another,
their sense of community is actualized. Experiences of community and belonging exist
in a range of group contexts, culminating in
a general shared understanding and belief,
which for some may define a religious faith
(McMillan & Chavis, 1986). As a result of
its seemingly universal application, scholars
use sense of community to investigate the interconnectedness of student outcomes such
Volume 47, No. 2 * 2021

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Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 2

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