EXPLORING PSYCHOLOGICAL SENSE OF COMMUNITY IN LIVING-LEARNING PROGRAMS AND IN THE UNIVERSITY AS A WHOLE
Wright, Stephen Perry
Gardner, Albert H.
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The Sense of Community Index (SCI), original questions targeting Sense of Community in a university setting (SSCQ), and qualitative questions were answered by 636 students in reference to their selective living-learning program (LLP) and by an additional 266 comparison students not in any special program in reference to the University. Differences (p<.0005) were found between LLP and non-program students and among LLPs, after controlling for demographic variables. An additional fifth element of Sense of Community, sense of "Purpose" (of and in a community), was proposed, questions regarding "Purpose" loaded strongly on that factor (especially for LLP students), and that factor was highly correlated with the SCI. Factors of the SCI did not load well on the underlying theoretical subscales/elements (Membership, Influence, Integration and fulfillment of needs, and Shared emotional connection). SSCQ reliability was high (.93), and could be developed to supplement the SCI for assessing Sense of Community in school settings.