Graduation Date

Spring 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Meredith Williams

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Michihiro Clark Sugata

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


This study examines the strengths and opportunities in applying the frame of Identity Control Theory (ICT) to understanding the first-year experiences of students in higher education. Through thirty-one semi-structured interviews with undergraduate and graduate students during their first term in the program of study, different components of the ICT model are explored and tested. Results indicate ICT is modestly effective in explaining the first term experience for these students, but could be enhanced through further development in the areas of identity connectedness, identity exploration and resources/resilience. Recommendations for higher education programming and suggestions for a potential research agenda for ICT are offered.

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