First-generation College Students' Guilt and Its Influences on Social Capital

This qualitative dissertation looks at how first-generation college students (FGCS) experience the emotion of guilt as it relates to social capital within higher education. This study included 21 FGCS enrolled at two community colleges in Los Angeles County, California. the study found that guilt, along with other variables influence first-generation college students’ access to social capital. Themes included: positive experiences associated with being a FGCS, parental support, FGCS not working, guilt (associated with familial responsibilities), pride, resiliency through positive self-talk, and challenges accessing social capital. Implications for policy, practice, theory, and future research are discussed.


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