Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


Need for Cognition in Resident Assistants

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

Ellen M. Broido (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Patrick D. Pauken (Other)

Third Advisor

Maureen E. Wilson (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Hyeyoung Bang (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Rachel A. Vannatta (Committee Member)


My study addresses how experiences within the role of a resident assistant (RA) may be related to need for cognition, a measure describing an individual’s capacity and desire to engage in effortful thinking. To investigate this relationship, I used a pretest and posttest survey methodology. This methodology allowed me to determine if RAs experienced a significant change in their need for cognition after one year in the RA role and what variables within the RA role were related to need for cognition. Several factors within the RA experience were correlated with need for cognition. These factors were ACT score, gender, positive diversity experiences, the changing of a significant belief as a result of working as an RA, and weekly hours worked as a RA. Of these factors, only ACT was predictive of need for cognition. The results of my study confirm that ACT is a significant predictor for need for cognition. My results also suggest that RAs’ experiences with diversity may play a significant role in the development of their need for cognition.