Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Sara J. Finney

Steve Grande

Christopher S. Hulleman

Abstract

The psychological construct university mattering is defined as the feeling that one makes a difference and is significant to his or her university’s community. University mattering emerged from the theory of general mattering, which describes mattering as a complex construct consisting of the facets awareness, importance, ego-extension and reliance. The Revised University Mattering Scale (RUMS), created by writing items to represent these facets, was developed for use in the current study. The purpose of this study was twofold. First, the model-data fit of the RUMS was evaluated using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Five a priori models were tested using two independent samples: (a) a one-factor model, (b) a four-factor model, (c) a higher-order model, (d) a bifactor model, and (e) an incomplete bifactor model. The incomplete bifactor model had the best overall fit. When investigating unstandardized factor pattern coefficients, all items loaded strongly to the general mattering factor; thus, providing empirical support for one underlying construct. Therefore, items that cross-loaded to both the general mattering factor and their corresponding specific factor were removed. In addition, items associated with large correlation residuals were removed. As a result, 19 items were removed. The resulting 15-item measure fit a one-factor structure well and was named the Unified Measure of University Mattering-15 (UMUM-15). The second purpose of this study was to assess the measurement invariance of the UMUM-15. Of particular interest to this study was the comparison of transfer student scores on university mattering to scores of native students (i.e., students who began at the institution with no transfer credit). Tests of measurement invariance began with testing configural invariance, followed by metric invariance, and finally, scalar invariance. With the establishment of configural, metric, and scalar invariance, latent mean differences between transfer and native students were interpreted. As expected, transfer students had lower latent means than native students on university mattering. Not only did this study provide strong construct validity evidence for the UMUM-15, but this study also provided evidence for the need to reconceptualize our understanding of university mattering.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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