Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers

Second Advisor

Mack C. Shelley


A survey of 261 students at Des Moines Area Community College-Boone Campus was conducted to examine self-esteem in relation to perceptions of role models, emotional support, academic adjustment, and academic success. Symbolic interactionism and the looking-glass self formed the conceptual basis of the research. Factor and Cronbach's alpha analyses tended to confirm internal validity and reliability of the constructs, respectively.;Hypothesis testing revealed some significant (p ≤ .05) relationships. Pearson's product moment correlation linked student self-esteem and social perceptions. Self-esteem was higher when the students: had a support person, saw the support person or role model as similar to themselves, saw the support person or role model as capable and stable, and felt that their emotional support needs were met, and that the support person provided effective support. Self-esteem was higher when the looking-glass self was favorable: students believed that the support person or role model would see them positively. In addition, self-esteem was higher when students perceived themselves as: academically adjusted and successful, voluntarily enrolled, having a live-in partner, and having attended high school in central Iowa. Self-esteem was lower with discrimination, abuse, family dysfunction, and expecting to drop out.;Regression analysis revealed that self-esteem depends on students being academically adjusted, academically successful, emotionally supported, female, and perceiving that their support person sees them favorably and is like them. Significant also were role models and support persons over age 24, and students of the same ethnicity as the student and seen as similar to the students, themselves. Role models were generally male, and support persons were of the opposite gender (especially for male students).;Based on these findings, peer mentors might benefit first-year students at Boone Campus. Peer mentors would be successful sophomores who could act as role models, support persons, and tutors for mentees, guiding (mentoring) them to promote academic achievement and self-esteem.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Robert Lee McNair



Proquest ID


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File Size

218 pages