Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Research

Document Type




Sorority membership retention is a newly emerging research topic with little to no existing information on what motivates members to remain. There are countless studies concerning college student retention in general, but there have yet to be studies that focus specifically on sorority women and their membership experiences. One major research question drove this study: What factors and/or experiences influence a second year National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sorority member’s decision to actively participate in their sorority?

Using a theoretical framework developed from the social integration retention model proposed by Braxton, Hirschy, and McClendon in 2011, this study explored what occurs during sorority membership to increase and/or solidify a member’s satisfaction with and commitment to the organization. The personal experiences of eleven second-year sorority members revealed significant correlations with four of the six social integration factors proposed by Braxton, et al. (2011). I found that the social integration model for retention is a strong predictor of sorority membership satisfaction and commitment, which are indicators of membership retention.

As a result of this study, I recommend that a larger focus be placed in the areas of intentionality and transparency among sororities in order to increase membership retention. Sorority members who are given intentional opportunities to establish community, through which they develop meaningful connections that lead to greater levels of involvement, are committed and satisfied. Similarly, trust plays a significant role in a member’s commitment to her sorority, so honest, clear communication from sorority leaders is key in both establishing and maintaining trust. Finally, this theoretical framework provides a great foundation for future studies of sorority membership retention as well as the exploration of the many other areas of college life through which students develop a sense of belonging and community (cultural/religious groups, student organizations, living/learning environments, etc.).



Committee Chair

Kennedy, Eugene