Developmental and Demographic Characteristics of Generic and Nongeneric Students In a Baccalaureate Nursing Program

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Willie Lee Pierce

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


Baccalaureate educational programs in nursing are currently faced with challenges related to meeting the needs of a growing population of older students, returning registered nurse students, and declining numbers of traditional students. Demographic data and information relative to adult development are vital to the development of programs that are conducive to meeting individualized student needs. This study compared generic and non-generic nursing students on the variables of demographic characteristics, learning style, and developmental stage. It is hoped that the data provided might be utilized as input into future planning in the areas of curriculum and support services. Research instruments included a Demographic Profile Sheet, Kolb's Learning Style Inventory, and Tarule's Educational Experience Inventory. The population for the study included nursing students enrolled in the baccalaureate degree program at a regional state university in the South. The sample for the study consisted of 123 generic and 29 non-generic students. Chi-square was used to test the hypotheses at a.05 level of significance. The results of the study revealed significant differences on the demographic variables of age, marital status, number of dependent children, work status, and type of work and on the variable of developmental stage. No significant differences were shown on the demographic variables of sex, financial aid, and prior educational experience and on the variable of learning style. In the population studied it was acknowledged that significant differences, as well as similarities, exist between generic and non-generic students. The results of the study support separate tracks for generic and non-generic students. In addition, it identified needs in both groups of students relative to support services and creativity in curriculum offerings.