The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 15

Peer Belonging and Institutional Acceptance

indices were considered as well (Hu & Bentler,
1999). These fit indices also suggested good
model fit, even those that are more conservative indices of model fit (Appendix B), and all
path coefficients were significant. The factors
of peer belonging and institutional acceptance
were correlated at .40 for first-years and .48 for
seniors. This suggests that while the factors are
related, they are not at major risk for multicollinearity, or having a direct linear relationship
due to measurement of the same construct
(Field, 2009). The standardized regression
weights showed adequate strength of factor
loadings for peer belonging, ranging from .36
to .75 for first-year students and .39 to .70 for
seniors. The standardized regression weights
also showed adequate strength of factor loadings for institutional acceptance, ranging from
.41 to .80 for first-year students and .41 to .77
for seniors.
Overall, the fit indices, factor correlations,
and regression weights suggest evidence for
the creation of two scales: peer belonging and
institutional acceptance. Therefore, scores for
these factors were created by averaging the
scores for each item loading on the respective
factors. Levels of internal consistency for the
peer belonging (first-year: Cronbach's α = .72;
senior: Cronbach's α = .72) and institutional acceptance (first-year: Cronbach's α = .67; senior:
Cronbach's α = .68) scales were acceptable
(McMillan & Schumacher, 2001).
In addition to the items about peer belonging and institutional acceptance, one final item
asked students to choose from a list of eight
response options to describe those with whom
they share their living space. For simplicity, these
options were collapsed into four categories: do
not share living space with anyone; one other
student roommate or multiple student roommates (previously two separate options); signifi-

cant other/spouse, significant other/spouse and
my children, or my children (previously three
separate options); and parents/relatives.

Participants
Overall, more than 17,000 first-year and senior
students at 44 four-year colleges and universities responded to the core NSSE survey
and the extra item set. The final sample (N =
12,235) included a wide range of students and
institutions closely representing the diversity of
college and university students in the United
States. Women slightly outnumbered men by
13%, while 40% identified as first-generation
college students (neither parent holds a bachelor's degree). An overwhelming majority (94%)
were 23 years old or younger. Of all the participants, 67% identified as White, 17% as Black or
African American, 8% as Latino or Hispanic,
and less than 2% as Asian or Asian American. Half of the respondents studied at private
institutions (50%), and some (9%) attended a
minority-serving institution (MSI). There was a
range of students from highly (13%), moderately
(56%), and liberally selective (32%) institutions.
Students were mostly enrolled at baccalaureate
colleges (41%) and Master's colleges and universities (17%). As for where participants lived
and with whom they resided, students reported
a variety of situations (see Table 1). Not surprisingly, first-year students were much more likely
to live on campus and have roommates than
were their senior counterparts.

Analyses
A series of four ordinary least squares regression models were conducted to determine if
there were differences among groups of students in their perceptions of peer belonging
and institutional acceptance. Because of the
differences in the experiences of first-year and
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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Cover1
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