Nursing ETDs


Jane L. Smith

Publication Date



Perceived social support has been shown to improve mental health, increase persistence, decrease stress, and decrease attrition in nursing students. A lack of it has been linked to increased dropout rates in nursing school. It is vital we identify methods of increasing perceived social support to reduce dropout rates in nursing programs. However, there is an absence of published research about social support in female baccalaureate nursing students. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between perceived social support, reciprocity, economic adequacy, marital status, marital satisfaction, and age in female baccalaureate nursing students. The participants were female students with ages ranging from 19 to 47 years, and two subsets were examined: 'married' and 'not married'. The two main methods for data analysis were linear regression and correlation. The measurement instruments used were the PRQ2000, the IPRI reciprocity subscale, the EAS, and the EMS. Economic adequacy was found to be very significant in relationship to perceived social support in both subsets and the overall sample. Marital satisfaction was also a better measure than married status when exploring perceived social support in married participants. There are many potential interventions that may improve social support in female nursing students such as working with university systems to improve financial assistance, encouraging nursing faculty to be more supportive, aiding students seeking part-time jobs in the healthcare field, and teaching students and family members how to utilize electronic means of communication to increase the levels of perceived social support.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

College of Nursing

First Committee Member (Chair)

Mendelson, Cindy

Second Committee Member

Giddens, Jean

Third Committee Member

Schultz, Pam


perceived social support, reciprocity, economic adequacy, marital satisfaction, social support, baccalaureate nursing students



Document Type