Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1995


The problem of this study was that no data existed on characteristics of life style management as related to persisters and dropouts among adult high school students in the state of Tennessee. The purpose of the study was to determine the characteristic life style approaches most prevalent among persistent enrollees, graduates, and dropouts of selected adult high school programs in Tennessee. Five hundred fifty-nine persisters and 868 dropouts were surveyed by mail, by telephone, or by school site visits. There were 419 participants in the study, 311 persisters and 108 dropouts. The research was descriptive in nature and utilized data gathered from a survey instrument entitled, Life Style Approaches (LSA) Scale. The instrument was developed by Williams and Long (1991) based on a collection of self-management strategies. Six self-management strategies were identified in the 22 item instrument, and respondents were asked to report to what degree each item was or was not similar to their life styles. The instrument was piloted on 50 adult high school students in Hamblen and Greene Counties who were not in the study sample. Pilot results indicated that reading and comprehension levels were adequate for the students surveyed. Findings were divided into two categories, demographics and the findings as a result of hypothesis testing. Seventy-three percent of respondents were born after 1960, 88% were Caucasian, and 52% lacked one year or less to graduate. An equal number were married and single, and 55% were employed. Incomes of respondents ranged from less than $5,000 to \$40,000; however, 31% of them earned less than $5,000. With regard to hypothesis testing, no significant differences were found between dropouts and persisters in the demographic areas of age gender, race, marital status, or occupational status. There was a significant difference between dropouts and persisters in the number of years needed to graduate. Of the self-management practices (performance focus and efficiency, goal directedness, timeliness of task accomplishment, organization of physical space, written plans for change, and verbal support for self-management), only performance focus and efficiency was found to be significantly different between dropouts and persisters. The performance focus and efficiency factor is closely related to self-efficacy, and persisters had a greater degree of self-efficacy than did the dropouts reported in this study.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access