Cultivating Resilience: Sense of Safety and Belonging in Higher Education

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Higher education, sense of safety, sense of belonging, resilience
Hammond, Jennifer L.
Taking into consideration a decline in value of the higher education experience, this research was done in order to determine alternative ways to assess value of higher education. Use of Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation as the framework, as well as a thorough literature review, highlights the importance of sense of safety and belonging in higher education. The literature review revealed a lack of research on sense of safety and belonging through a shared experience. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not there was a relationship between participation in extra-curricular activities and sense of safety, and/or if there was a relationship between extra-curricular activities and depression/anxiety and/or substance abuse. Secondary data collected through the Vermont Department of Health's College Health Survey was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression. Sample data (n=2,174) was chosen based on the participants experience with a traumatic event within the last 12 months. Data was analyzed for statistical significance (p=<.05), regression coefficient to show negative/positive correlation with standard error, odds ratio for magnitude, and a 95% confidence ratio. Data analysis did not result in statistical significance of the relationship between independent and dependent variables, however, controlling for the dependent variable highlighted the importance of a representative survey for generalizability, the importance of a reliable survey tool, proper survey creation, and distribution processes.