Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Nancy J. Carbonell

Second Advisor

Dennis E. Waite

Third Advisor

Karen Baer-Barkley

Abstract

Problem. Students have an opportunity for personal growth as they learn about themselves and the world around them. However, their levels of self-concept and depression can influence how they view' themselves, their relationships, and their world. This research compared undergraduate and graduate students with respect to their levels of self-concept and depression.

Method. A quantitative research design was used for an ex post facto study of 239 students from Andrews University and Western Michigan University. They completed the Demographic Questionnaire, the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale: Second Edition (TSCS:2), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II).

Results. Using 13 as the B D I-II cut score, the prevalence of depression found for undergraduate and graduate students combined was as follows: a total of 197 (82.4%) were nondepressed, a total of 21 (8.8%) demonstrated mild depressive symptoms, a total of 13 (5.4%) demonstrated moderate depressive symptoms, and a total of 8 (3.3%) demonstrated severe depressive symptoms. The results indicated that undergraduate students demonstrated higher mean depression scores than the graduate students. However, there were no significant differences found between the proportion of undergraduate and graduate students in each BDI-II group. There were no significant differences found in the level of self-concept between undergraduate and graduate students. There were significant differences found between the self-concept of students at different depression groups. For Identity Self-Concept only, the relationship between self-concept and depression was different for undergraduate and graduate students.

Conclusions. Although the majority of the participants were nondepressed, undergraduate students demonstrated higher mean depression scores than graduate students. Undergraduate and graduate students did not differ in their level of self-concept. There were significant differences found between the self-concept of students at different depression groups. In general, when undergraduate and graduate students were nondepressed or the less depressed they were, then the better they felt about themselves. Conversely, the more depressed they were, then the worse they felt about themselves. The relationship between self-concept and depression was different for undergraduate and graduate students for Identity Self-Concept only. The results of this study suggested that therapeutic goals for students with symptoms of depression, undergraduate or graduate, would be similar.

Subject Area

Self-perception, College students--Psychology, Graduate students--Psychology.

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