Factors Related to Academic Stress and Persistence Decisions of Diné College Students

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Native Americans reported the least number of degree completion than any other population in the United States. Native American students experience multiple challenges while in college making them a high-risk

Native Americans reported the least number of degree completion than any other population in the United States. Native American students experience multiple challenges while in college making them a high-risk population for college departure. This study used two hierarchical multiple regression to explore the relationship between non-cognitive factors (financial concerns, family support for education, cultural involvement, ethnic identity, academic self-efficacy) with both academic stress and academic persistence decisions from a combined sample of 209 Diné college students attending two tribal colleges on the Navajo reservation. Two-week test-retest reliabilities were calculated for three scales: family support for education, financial concerns, and Dine’ cultural involvement. The Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity Scale was modified to measure two facets of ethnic identity (centrality and private regard) for Diné students. Academic Self-Efficacy was measured by the College Self-Efficacy Inventory. The Daily Hassles Index for College Stress was used to measure academic stress and the Persistence/Voluntary Dropout Decisions Scale was measured academic persistence decisions. Due to its suppression effect on the relation of private regard and academic stress, centrality was not included in the hierarchical regression predicting academic stress; however, it was included in the prediction of academic persistence decisions. Diné students reported high scores for family support for education that suggested that generally the students at Dine’ College perceived that their families as being supportive and encouraging their efforts to get their college degree. In the hierarchical regression predicting academic stress, in step one more cultural involvement and fewer financial concerns predicted less academic stress. In the final model, only fewer financial concerns

and greater academic self-efficacy predicted less academic stress. In the hierarchical regression predicting academic persistence decisions, private regard and academic self- efficacy were significant, positive predictors of persistence decisions. These findings are discussed in light of the role counseling psychologists can play in addressing financial concerns, ethnic identity, and academic self-efficacy among Dine’ students in order to decrease their academic stress and increase their positive decisions about staying in school.