The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 21

Peer Belonging and Institutional Acceptance

tance tend to choose certain living situations,
like staying on campus or living with other
peers. Yet regardless of the direction of the
relationship, this study opens the discussion
about effective housing practices and positive
attitudes and perceptions related to students'
sense of belonging on campus. This study
sheds light on two distinct features of sense of
belonging, which is valuable to researchers in
the field. It also adds to the body of literature
on student living situations, replicating some
aspects of previous research while challenging
others.

DISCUSSION
In recent years, many institutions have
started building new campus housing with
many single occupancy rooms in order to
encourage upper-level students to remain on
campus (Wheeler, 2014). While the results
from this study, as well as those from previous research (Gellin, 2003; Hurtado et al.,
2019; Pascarella et al., 1993; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Pike & Kuh, 2005; Reason et
al., 2006), suggest that convincing students
to remain on campus would be beneficial for
them, our findings also indicate that this oncampus gain can be overshadowed if they live
alone. The proliferation of single occupancy
buildings on campuses could have unintended negative consequences for students' peer
integration at their institution.
Students living alone, regardless of proximity to campus, may find it difficult to make new
friends and acquaintances who share the same
views and beliefs, generating increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Juang, Ittel,
Hoferichter, and Mariam Gallarin (2016) cautioned higher education professionals against

the negative effects of loneliness on students'
well-being and academic performance. They
reported that lack of peer support could be
detrimental to students' college adjustment,
especially for those from ethnically diverse
backgrounds who encounter daily forms of
discrimination. Peer support can serve as a
buffer against these negative effects, and thus
living with other students may serve in part as
that buffer. The results from this study suggest
that, for first-year students, living with one or
more roommates has a higher positive impact
on their feelings of peer belonging than living
on campus does. This finding is consistent for
seniors as well. Additionally, for seniors, living
off campus (but within walking distance) was
found to be better than living on campus.
While this seems in opposition to findings for
first-year students, seniors who live in campus
housing are more likely to live alone than are
their first-year counterparts. When seniors
lived within walking distance to campus, they
were still geographically close to the institution, but more likely to be living with other
students.

POTENTIAL FUTURE RESEARCH
While not the focus of this study, the differences found in peer belonging and institutional
acceptance by student demographics, college
experiences, and institutional characteristics
were also informative. For example, the finding
that traditional age seniors reported higher
levels of peer belonging could suggest, not
surprisingly, that students who go through the
college experience together are more likely to
bond with one another. These students should
be able to find others close to their age with the
possibility of common life experiences. In adV O L U M E 4 6 , NO. 1 * 2 0 1 9

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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
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