Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



This dissertation extends the work on teacher immediacy (TI) and student persistence by using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1985) to account for variability in college student persistence. Students provided perceptions of their teachers’ immediacy behaviors using modified versions of Gorham’s (1988) TI scale. Instruction prompts of the TI scale were manipulated to create four conditions. The results from Study 1 demonstrate that TI scale prompt language has an effect on the ways participants assess their teacher’s immediacy behaviors. The results from Study 2 show that student perceptions of their teacher’s immediacy behaviors change over the course of an academic semester, such that TI is statistically higher at the end of the semester than at the beginning, as measured by collecting data at four time points. The results from both studies generally support the hypotheses and suggest the TPB accurately predicts college student persistence. However, it is unclear how TI is influencing the overall TPB structural model. In some cases, adding TI to the TPB structural models resulted in a poorer fitting model. Discussions, limitations, and future research are provided for both studies.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Bodie, Graham



Included in

Communication Commons