Places of Belonging: Person- and Place-Focused Interventions to Support Belonging in College

  • Lisel Alice Murdock-PerrieraEmail author
  • Kathryn L. Boucher
  • Evelyn R. Carter
  • Mary C. Murphy
Part of the Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research book series (HATR, volume 34)


This chapter details the barriers to belonging that many students can face in college. We review successful social psychological interventions, and the psychological and performance outcomes that they impact. However, we note that most (if not all) social psychological belonging interventions to date have been person-focused. That is, these interventions focus on helping individual students understand themselves and their environments in ways that are beneficial. We extend these insights with a call for more research on how to create contexts that that might enhance students’ sense of belonging in college. We argue that if universities and colleges wish to construct inclusive environments, they should bring together both person-focused interventions and place-based interventions that change environmental cues and institutional messages to ones that will support students’ belonging. In the final pages of this chapter, we explore features of inclusive college environments and offer strategies to help college administrators change both the mindsets of students and the campus environments in which students live and learn to be places that support their sense of belonging.


Belonging Belonging uncertainty Underrepresented students Stereotype threat Social identity Intersectionality Societal stereotypes Numerical representation Diversity and inclusion Attributional interventions Social belonging interventions Wise feedback Cultural mismatch Utility value interventions Purpose interventions Places of belonging Student success Barriers to belonging 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisel Alice Murdock-Perriera
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kathryn L. Boucher
    • 2
  • Evelyn R. Carter
    • 3
  • Mary C. Murphy
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.School of Psychological SciencesUniversity of IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Office of Equity, Diversity and InclusionUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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