Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education, Health & Behavior Studies

First Advisor

Deborah Worley


The relationship between professional socialization factors of rural student affairs professionals and their level of professional identity is the central question in this study. The study explores this question using a non-experimental survey design. The study utilizes the instrument the Student Affairs Professional Identity Scale developed by Wilson, Liddell, Hirschy, and Pasquesi (2015). Participants in the study include student affairs professionals currently employed at rural institutions as designated by U.S. Census data. The study examines the relationship between socialization factors: professional influences, professional development influences, and professional engagement activities; and; professional identity constructs: community connection, values congruence and career contentment. The study found a total of five correlations between sub-constructs: professional development and career contentment; local engagement activities and values congruence; national engagement activities and values congruence; continuing education engagement activities and values congruence; and networking engagement activities and career contentment. The findings of the study can be used to inform the work and activities of professional associations and graduate prep programs in regards to rural student affairs professionals.