Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College students from socioeconomically challenging backgrounds are more likely to drop out of college before being awarded a bachelor’s degree. A challenging background predicts difficulties in emotion regulation, which may affect adjustment to college and, subsequently, persistence in college until a bachelor’s degree is awarded. Previous research has identified cognitive fusion, a state in which one unquestioningly believes the literal content of their thoughts, and inflexible usage of self and other-blame as predictors of negative social, psychological, and academic outcomes. The present study used self-report data collected from emerging adult college students at a small midwestern university to assess whether the presence of high cognitive fusion would increase the effects of self and other-blame usage on college adjustment outcomes. While none of the moderation models tested were significant, higher cognitive fusion was significantly associated with lower reports of psychological and social adjustment to college. The exploratory analyses conducted suggest that both childhood socioeconomic status and cognitive fusion influence college adjustment for emerging adults. Thus, interventions seeking to improve college persistence for students from challenging backgrounds may benefit from incorporating therapies that reduce cognitive fusion.


Dr. Stephanie Weigel

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type



© The Author(s)


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