Scholarly Articles

Following is a partial bibliography of current literature gathered by Rebecca Covarrubias, Assistant Professor of Psychology, UC Santa Cruz and Andres Pinedo, psychology undergraduate student and Koret Scholar.
Note that access to articles may require login to the UC Santa Cruz library.

the First-Generation College Student Experience


The Cultural Transition to College for First-Generation College Students
  • First-generation college students’ experiences with family achievement guilt. Covarrubias, R., and; Fryberg, S. (2015). Movin’ on up (to college): Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21(3), 420-429.

  • Limbo: Blue-collar roots, white-collar dreams. Lubrano, A. (2004). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. Read the book through Google books

  • Exploring Home- School Value Conflicts. Vasquez-Salgado, Y., Greenfield, P. M., and; Burgos-Cienfuegos, R. (2015). Journal of Adolescent Research, 30(3), 271–305.

  • Affirming independence: Exploring mechanisms underlying a values affirmation intervention for first-generation students. Tibbetts, Yoi; Harackiewicz, Judith M.; Canning, Elizabeth A.; Boston, Jilana S.; Priniski, Stacy J.; Hyde, Janet S. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 110(5), May 2016, 635-659.

  • Living–learning programs and first-generation college students’ academic and social transition to college. Karen Kurotsuchi Inkelas, Zaneeta E. Daver, Kristen E. Vogt, and Jeannie Brown Leonard. Research in Higher Education, Vol. 48, No. 4, June 2007 (2006) DOI:

Recommendations for improving the First-Generation College Experience
Psychological Interventions with First-Generation College Students
  • Closing the social class achievement gap for first-generation students in undergraduate biology. Harackiewicz, J. M., Canning, E. A., Tibbetts, Y., Giffen, C. J., Blair, S. S., Rouse, D. I., and; Hyde J. S. (2014). Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 106(2), 375-389.

  •  Unseen disadvantage: How American universities' focus on independence undermines the academic performance of first-generation college students. Stephens, Nicole M.; Fryberg, Stephanie A.; Markus, Hazel Rose; Johnson, Camille S.; Covarrubias, Rebecca. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 102(6), Jun 2012, 1178-1197.

  • Closing the Social-Class Achievement Gap: A Difference-Education Intervention Improves First-Generation Students’ Academic Performance and All Students’ College Transition. Nicole M. Stephens, MarYam G. Hamedani, Mesmin Destin. Psychological Science 2014, Vol. 25(4) 943–953.

  • A cultural mismatch: Independent cultural norms produce greater increases in cortisol and more negative emotions among first-generation college students. Nicole M. Stephens, Sarah S.M. Townsend, Hazel Rose Markus, L. Taylor Phillips. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Volume 48, Issue 6, November 2012, , Pages 1389–1393


Curriculum-based Interventions for First-Generation College Students
  • Building educational resilience and social support: The effects of the educational opportunity fund program among first- and second-generation college students. Clauss-Ehlers, C. S., and; Wibrowski, C. R. (2007).  Journal of College Student Development, Vol. 48(5), 574-584.

  • Supporting first generation college freshmen with small group intervention. Folger, W. A., Carter, J. A., and; Chase, P. B. (2004).  College Student Journal, Vol 38(3), 472-475.

  • The influence of multicultural learning communities on the intrapersonal development of first-generation college students. Jehangir, R., Williams, R., and; Jeske, J. (2012). Journal of College Student Development, Vol. 53(2), 267-284.