Trained peer counselor effect on the personal growth of freshman students at a private, Liberal Arts college Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/fj236600f

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  • The primary problem of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of trained peer counselors on the personal growth of freshman students at a small liberal arts college. An effort was also made to determine if training residence hall student assistants in counseling skills affected freshman perceptions of those assistants.A final concern of the investigation was to study the academic achievement of freshman students as related to the sex of the student and the availability of peer counseling.The sample for the study consisted of 140 randomly selected freshman men and women, living in residence halls at Northwest Nazarene College during the 1975-76 school year. Four groups were involved in the study: male experimental, female experimental,male control, and female control. The two experimental groups lived in residence hall wings where trained peer counselors were available. The two control groups lived in wings without peer counselors. The study encompassed a 25 week time period.The Omnibus Personality Inventory (OPI) was used as a measure of personal growth. The three hypotheses related to personal growth were tested using a two way, fixed model, analysis of covariance.The hypotheses concerned with academic achievement used a two way, fixed model, analysis of covariance, also. For this test the student's ability index, a z-score computed from the student's performance on several standardized mental ability tests, was used as the covarient to his second term cumulative grade point average.Ivy's Counselor Effectiveness Scale (CES) was used to measure freshman perceptions of their residence hall student assistants.The hypotheses regarding these perceptions were tested using analysis of variance. The mean scores of the CES were examined to determine what difference, if any, was perceived by the freshman students in those assistants who were trained in counseling skills and those who were not. Statistical significance was set at the .05confidence level for all hypotheses.Personal growth as measured by the OPI appears to be unaffected by peer counseling. However, a difference was evident between men and women on certain OPI scales. Men were found to be more scholarly, reflective, and critical in their thinking process while women reported themselves to be better adjusted emotionally and more caring of others.Although no difference was found in academic achievement between the experimental and control groups, there was a difference between men and women students. Freshman women achieved more highly than freshman men.The freshman ratings showed the trained peer counselors to be perceived more positively than their non-trained counterparts in both the total score of the CES and on certain subscores. The results of this study show that training of dormitory assistants does lead to a more positive perception of those assistants.
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