SURF

Jordan Serrano-Guedea

Mental Health Outcomes Among First-Generation College Students

First-generation college students (FGCS) experience many unique familial, cultural, social, and academic challenges as the first in the family to pursue a four-year degree. Previous research has found that these extra stressors may place FGCS at higher risk for mental health problems, lower retention rates, and lower graduation rates (House and Kolb, 2020). Yet, findings in the literature on the impacts of first-generation status on FGCS mental health are mixed, and no systematic review exists on this topic to reconcile the varied findings. This summer, I will expand upon this underdeveloped research area by creating the first-ever meta-analysis of FGCS mental health outcomes. My analysis will evaluate anxiety and depression outcomes in FGCS relative to non-FGCS and identify risk and protective factors for anxiety and depression outcomes in FGCS. This promising study will identify the most poignant factors affecting FGCS mental health status and offer promising interventions by identifying potential mediators and moderators.

Message to Sponsor

I greatly appreciate the Gates Foundation's support for my research project. As a first-generation college student myself, I am thrilled to be conducting such personally relevant research in examining the effects of first-generation status on mental health outcomes. Through this project, I hope to advance our understanding of the challenges faced by first-generation college students and leverage its findings to improve the experiences of FGCS.
  • Major: Psychology and Social Welfare
  • Sponsor: Gates Foundation
  • Mentor: Aaron Fisher