Research in Higher Education

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 617–645 | Cite as

An approach/avoidance behavioral model of college student attrition

  • Shevawn Bogdan Eaton
  • John P. Bean


We used approach/avoidance theory to develop a conceptual model of student attrition that we estimated using 262 first- and second-year students at a major midwestern research university. We found that we could use psychological theories to enhance our understanding of the retention process; that psychological and sociological factors accounted for 37 percent of the variance in student attrition; and that institutions can enhance retention by developing programs that increase appropriate academic and social approach behaviors and reduce avoidant behaviors.


College Student Conceptual Model Behavioral Model Psychological Theory Approach Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shevawn Bogdan Eaton
    • 1
  • John P. Bean
    • 2
  1. 1.Educational Services and ProgramsNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalb
  2. 2.Higher Education and Student AffairsIndiana UniversityBloomington

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