Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Pauline Reynolds, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Rod Goodyear, Ph.D.

Ross Mitchell, Ph.D.


education; adult attachment theory; attachment style; college students; persistence; physical environment; retention


Educational Leadership | Educational Psychology | Higher Education


With President Obama's 2010 State of the Union address challenging colleges to move beyond access to college completion, U.S. educational leaders need to develop targeted interventions that increase the chances of student success. Research has long suggested that students living on campus are more likely to graduate, so housing administrators can contribute to these interventions if they know more specifically how the environment contributes. This study examines how perception of the residence hall's physical environmental quality impacts retention risk factors, as moderated by personal attachment style. The study was conducted at a small, private university in southern California utilizing the College Persistence Questionnaire, the State Adult Attachment Measure, and an environmental perception scale. Structural Equation Modeling and multiple linear regression suggested that students with secure attachments display the fewest retention risk factors. Students who felt safer in their residence halls had better academic integration and less collegiate stress, while students who found their residence hall more aesthetically pleasing felt stronger institutional commitment. Housing leaders can contribute to college completion by increasing sense of safety and physical aesthetics in the residence halls.


© 2014 Leslie R. Krafft

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781321309966