Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Underwood, Ray Joe

Committee Member

Heiselt, K. April

Committee Member

Wells, K. Debbie

Committee Member

Gainer, Browning Donna

Committee Member

Wolverton Jr., E. Robert

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education


This study was an exploration of the relationship of the resilience of nontraditional, African American, commuter undergraduates and their academic and social involvement at a historically Black university. The researcher used the Personal Resiliency Questionnaire (PRQ), and a Student Demographic Questionnaire (SDQ.) The PRQ that contained 75 items and measured seven characteristics linked to resilience. The seven characteristics were (a) ?Positive: The World,? (b) ?Positive: Yourself,? (c) ?Focused,? (d) ?Flexible: Thoughts,? (e) ?Flexible: Social,? and (e) ?Proactive.? The SDQ included ten academic involvement indicators and ten social involvement indicators. The researcher defined nontraditional students as those who had indicated three of the following characteristics: (a) was single or married with children; (b) married; (c) was a commuter student; (d) worked full-time; and (e) would have been 24 years of age or older at the time of graduation. Based on the responses provided by the students that completed the survey the researcher identified which students were classified as nontraditional. The researcher reported that using a computer or word processor to prepare reports or papers, asking an instructor for information related to a course you are taking, using a computer lab or center to improve study or academic skills, and taking detailed notes in class significantly predicted several academic involvement indicators. The researcher further indicated, living in an apartment or dormitory if the university provided on-campus housing, supporting classmates? fundraisers, and visiting the university center significantly predicted several social resiliency indicators. The results of this study contributed to the field of higher education as they informed faculty, student affairs administrators, and other university professionals about the impact of academic and social involvement on the resiliency of nontraditional, African American, commuter, students. The researcher recommended that historically Black universities provided resiliency training to faculty and staff, who work with nontraditional students. Administrators should have a clear understanding of their personal resiliency and be willing to share their resiliency stories with others. A universal understanding of resilience and a desire to support the development of resiliency in others would be the first step in creating a resiliency community.