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Title: Individual mobility as a route for social change : psychological barriers for participation in higher education
Author: Nieuwenhuis, Marlon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 7223
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis focuses on the individual mobility of working class students attained through participation in higher education. I examine the structural and psychological barriers they perceive and how these barriers prevent them from successfully engaging in individual mobility. In Chapter 1, I outline the general theoretical background of the research reported in the thesis by introducing relevant individual mobility constructs and exploring current research on this topic. In Chapter 2, I examine mobility attitudes and behaviour in three experimental studies. I show that 1) highly able students are more likely to engage in individual mobility; 2) when the permeability of a high status institution was low, individual mobility decreases; and 3) incompatibility between old and possible new social identities makes individual mobility less attractive as a strategy, especially in a context where the higher status position is prestigious and alternative options are seen as ‘good enough’. In Chapter 3, I examine factors predicting the success of the upwardly mobile within higher education. In four studies, using structural equation modelling, I demonstrate that disadvantaged students are less likely to regard university as consistent with their social background, which predicts lower levels of psychological fit. In turn, psychological fit predicts lower levels of well-being, academic adjustment and performance. I also explore the effect of a value affirmation intervention on the strength of the relationship between identity compatibility and psychological fit for low SES students, which could potentially improve their outcomes at university. In Chapter 4, I examine why A-level pupils from low SES backgrounds are less likely to apply to high status universities. In two studies conducted in UK secondary schools, I found that application to high status universities is predicted by anticipated psychological fit, while controlling for academic performance. In Chapter 5, I summarise the results of my research and draw some overarching conclusions. I address some of its limitations and implications, and outline directions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology