Research in Higher Education

, Volume 50, Issue 7, pp 649–669 | Cite as

Sense of Belonging and Persistence in White and African American First-Year Students

  • Leslie R. M. HausmannEmail author
  • Feifei Ye
  • Janet Ward Schofield
  • Rochelle L. Woods


The authors argue for the inclusion of students’ subjective sense of belonging in an integrated model of student persistence (Cabrera et al., J Higher Educ 64:123–139, 1993). The effects of sense of belonging and a simple intervention designed to increase sense of belonging are tested in the context of this model. The intervention increased sense of belonging for white students, but not for African American students. However, sense of belonging had direct effects on institutional commitment and indirect effects on intentions to persist and actual persistence behavior for both white and African American students.


Sense of belonging Persistence Intentions Intervention 



This research was funded by grants from the Spencer Foundation (Grant #200500074), the Sloan Foundation (Grant # B2004-46), the Office of the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies at the university at which it was conducted, and by a Grants-in-Aid award to the first author from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. The first author was supported by a VA Health Services Research and Development Career Development Award (RCD 06-287) during the preparation of this manuscript. We sincerely thank Marge Gibson, Jessica Girlardo, Amanda Good, Ashley Jones, Steve Luckey, Julie McDonald, Samantha McGinty, Wade Schaming, and Becki Shucosky for their assistance with this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie R. M. Hausmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Feifei Ye
    • 2
  • Janet Ward Schofield
    • 3
  • Rochelle L. Woods
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Health Equity Research and PromotionVA Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology in EducationUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and Learning Research and Development CenterUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Office of Academic Multicultural InitiativesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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