Title

The effect of participation in a peer education program on peer helpers' sense of community

Date of Completion

January 2000

Keywords

Education, Sociology of|Education, Educational Psychology

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of participation in a peer education program on peer helpers' sense of community. The researcher investigated the sense of community of forty-five college age peer helpers who participated in the Substance Abuse Prevention Center at the University of Connecticut (experimental group) compared to the sense of community of fifty-one college age students who did not participate in a peer education program (comparison group). The study took place during the 2000 spring semester at the University of Connecticut. During this time the experimental group peer helpers participated in the Substance Abuse Prevention Center. Also during this time, members of the study's comparison group did not participate in the Substance Abuse Prevention Center. ^ It was the intent of the researcher to determine whether or not participating in a peer education program (experimental group) had a positive effect on peer helpers' sense of community, as measured by the Collegiate Psychological Sense of Community Scale (CPSC), when compared to the sense of community of fifty-one University of Connecticut students, as measured by the Collegiate Psychological Sense of Community Scale , who did not participate in a peer education program (comparison group). ^ To address the study's research question, a quasi-experimental comparison group pretest-posttest research design and a discriminant function analysis (DFA) were used to differentiate the experimental and comparison groups. The pretest variables (the four subscales of the CPSC) and the posttest variables (the four subscales of the CPSC) were entered into a linear equation to examine how accurately they classified study participants into the comparison and experimental groups. ^ Findings indicated that participating in a peer education program, the Substance Abuse Prevention Center, had a statistically significant effect on the sense of community and campus alienation of the peer helpers in the experimental group. ^