Date Approved

Fall 2006

Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Communications (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Communications


The following study investigated the perceptions of resident assistants at Grand Valley State University in regards to retention rates of first year resident assistants. The study looked for links between cognitive dissonance about the resident assistant position and the intent to return to the position the following year. The study was qualitative by nature, asking a series of questions to first-year resident assistants concerning job responsibilities, perceptions of the position before applying and while in the position, and their relationship with their supervisor.

There were few studies found that addressed resident assistant retention or how the perception of the resident assistant position changed over time. The research pointed out that there was a clear link to miscommunication, cognitive dissonance, and job satisfaction in the work place. Other studies pointed out that retention of quality employees is becoming more and more challenging in today’s world.

The findings indicated that most resident assistants interviewed stated they really did not have a good idea of what they were really getting into. Resident assistants interviewed also said their perception of the job changed three times: while applying, during training, and while actually doing the job. Recommendations include but not limited to having a mentoring program that would have a prospective resident assistant shadowing a current resident assistant to ease the dissonance of the job during and after resident assistant training.


Questions or concerns regarding the copyright status of this item may be directed to