Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Public Health, DPH


School of Community and Global Health

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jessica DeHart

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jay Orr

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Rachaline Napier

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Samantha J Martinez


Belonging Post-COVID 19, College Student Wellness, Health Promotion, Higher Education, Public Health, Student Sense of Belonging

Subject Categories

Public Health Education and Promotion


Belonging has been studied for decades with many researchers concluding that humans have an inherent need to belong. Although each person’s level of need to belong differs, it is a deeply rooted human motivation that impacts a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Individuals develop a sense of belonging when they feel connected to others. The postsecondary journey allows for unique experiences and opportunities that foster a sense of belonging, which can assist college students to flourish in many aspects of their lives. Research has shown that belonging significantly impacts student well-being and academic achievement, making the topic imperative to continue studying and teasing out. More recently, as postsecondary institutions have returned to in-person instruction and campus life, the need for reestablishing connectedness and belonging in the campus community has been substantial. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the postsecondary student experience, forcing institutions to seek alternate strategies for student engagement and community formation. Through a primary data analysis of a mixed methods study (n=100), this paper aimed to explore the relationship between students’ sense of belonging and on-campus student employment status post the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, analyses of variance were used to identify differences amongst various subgroups: sex assigned at birth, year in school, and ethnicity. To gain a more complete understanding, coding of the qualitative data collected was used to identify trends in participant responses related to their belonging experience at the university. Key findings emerged from the study related to leadership, social connection, and involvement with DeSBI factors when comparing those who had a history of campus employment and those who did not. These findings assist in better understanding student belonging and on-campus employment, which can guide future research endeavors and postsecondary strategies focused on building campus community, increasing student success, and improving overall student well-being.