Moving beyond the theories traditionally used to describe college student development, this engaging book introduces social psychological theories that address the most relevant issues in higher education today. Covering theories of ecological systems, sense of belonging, prejudice and discrimination, positive psychology, social capital, personality theory, mentoring, and hope theory, this book promotes the understanding and application of social psychological theories to various higher education contexts. Examples from diverse student populations encourage learners’ application to situations in their own contexts. Comprehensive enough to be used as a main text but accessible enough to be used alongside another, this important textbook bridges research, theory, and practice to help practicing and aspiring higher education and student affairs professionals effectively work with college students.

Special Features Include:

• Reflective exercises that combine theory and practice and help students apply their knowledge solving problems.

• Case studies and scenarios for further connections to the reader’s university and college settings.

• Guiding questions that encourage students to think beyond the current literature and practice.

• List of further readings and references for readers to explore topics in more depth.

part |28 pages

Background of Theory

chapter |12 pages

What's Theory Anyway?

part |120 pages

Applications of Theory to Practice

chapter |9 pages

Ecological Systems Theory

An Ethnographic "Glimpse"

chapter |13 pages

Sense of Belonging in College

A Fresh Perspective

chapter |11 pages

Group Contact Theory

Prejudice and Discrimination

chapter |17 pages

Grit and Hardiness

A Social Psychological View of Positivity

chapter |12 pages

Personality Theory

Three Little Pigs and Big-Five Traits

chapter |10 pages


Mutual Benefits, Separate Roles

chapter |13 pages

Hope Theory

Evidence of Things Not Seen . . .

chapter |21 pages

Social Influence

How Others Shape Us and Our Aspirations

chapter |6 pages