Graduation Date

5-2014

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, Ed.D., OTR/L

First Reader

Stacy Frauwirth, MS, OTR/L

Abstract

Objective. To evaluate the effectiveness of peer mentoring in helping first year, first-generation college students at Dominican University of California (DUC) adapt to university life and navigate the occupational challenges experienced during the first year of college.

Method. Sixty-seven students voluntarily completed an online survey, First Year College Experience (FYCE) Survey: Adaptation to University Life. Quantitative research determined the influence of peer mentoring on the students’ adaptation and occupational performance in their transition to college. Effectiveness was determined by: 1) sense of belonging, 2) developed academic and social skills, 3) adaptive responses and strategies used, and 4) overall satisfaction with the college experience.

Results. FGS experienced a greater sense of belonging compared to non-FGS (p = 0.012). Mentored students gained more skill over time academically than students who did not use peer mentoring (p = 0.003). There was no statistical difference between FGS and non-FGS in the use of adaptive strategies (p = 0.484). There was a statistical difference in use of adaptive strategies between students who were mentored and non-mentored (p=0.025). Mentored students self-reported having more problem solving strategies when confronted with a challenge compared to non-mentored students.

Conclusion. The results suggest that peer mentoring is effective in helping students develop adaptive strategies, academic skills, and increasing overall college satisfaction. Implications of this study suggest that peer mentoring designed specifically for FGS in their first year of college may help FGS develop adaptive skills and flexibility in their problem-solving strategies that enhance their occupational performance as college students.

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