Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Roy H. Tunick.


This dissertation describes and compares three university populations: (a) students at-risk of alcohol related problems, (b) students academically-at-risk, and (c) non-at-risk students. These populations were given two self-report measures, the Problem Solving Inventory (Heppner, 1988) and the 16PF (Cattell, et al., 1993), to gather information on their problem solving abilities and their personality factors. The intent of the study is to find out what aspects of problem solving and personality differentiates these populations. This information will then be utilized to design and refine interventions for working with these struggling populations. One hundred and thirty-five students from a mid-eastern land-grant university participated in the study.;It was hypothesized that both the at-risk populations will have a less positive appraisal of their overall problem solving abilities, less trust and belief in their problem solving abilities, a more avoidant style to solving problems, and less belief in their control of behavior and emotions while solving problems. In addition, it was hypothesized that the at-risk groups will have various personality factors that allude to the reason they are at-risk. Multivariate analysis was used to analyze three sets of the data. Once multivariate significance was found, using the Wilk's Lambda test statistic, than the Tukey procedure was used to examine all pairwise group differences.;The academically-at-risk group was found to have a significantly different self-perception of their problem solving abilities in relation to the non-at-risk group. They perceived their overall problem solving abilities to be less effective than the non-at-risk group. They had a more avoidant style of approaching problems and less trust and belief in their problem solving confidence than the non-at-risk group.;There were significant differences between the standardized scores of the academically-at-risk and the non-at-risk group on three specific personality factors (a) Reasoning, (b) Emotional Stability, and (c) Abstractedness. There were significant differences between the standardized scores of the at-risk of alcohol related problems group and the non-at-risk group on two specific personality factors (a) Warmth and (b) Sensitivity.;Implications of the results, the limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are included in the discussion.