Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Kathryn Luchok, PhD.

First Reader

Tracey Weldon, PhD.

Second Reader

Tracey Weldon, PhD.


Undergraduate college students are faced with numerous stressors in their day to day life, many of which are affected by their individual identities. Research shows college is a time when students explore different facets of their identity, which can influence a student’s school performance and overall well-being. The main research of this study asks: How do various identities of University of South Carolina undergraduate students—such as race, gender, and sexual orientation—affect stressors and college satisfaction? This study was a secondary data analysis of the 2016 Campus Climate Undergraduate Survey, administered to all University of South Carolina undergraduates. Each respondent was identified by race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and associated with a corresponding construct covered in the narrative data. The most common constructs cross cutting identities were university structure, community, academics, positivity, and diversity. While the connotations of each construct varied with identity, these constructs influenced student stressors and college satisfaction to the largest degree. Further research is needed to explore the complexity of identity on stressors, and to compare the results of future Campus Climate Surveys to assess progress made towards making the university an inclusive and welcoming environment to all students.

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© 2019, Isabella Heimke