Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Catherine Berheide


Does social and cultural capital have beneficial outcomes that extend to the mental well-being of First Generation College graduates? Obtaining higher levels of educational degrees is known to produce positive rewards in lifestyle, opportunities, and income. Educational mobility is directly linked to social mobility. As one climbs the social ladder, one builds a broader network of people to rely on. This study analyzes 2010-2014 General Social Survey (GSS) data to report on the relationship between first-generation graduate status and self-reported days of mental health among 1654 non-institutionalized respondents in the U.S. All the parents of the respondents in the subset did not have a college degree of any kind. I hypothesize that among individuals whose parents do not have a college degree, first-generation college graduates (FGCG) are more likely to report less days of poor mental health than respondents with no college degree. The results support the hypothesis. Being a FGCG decreases the amount of days of poor mental well-being. In this study I make the connection that acquiring social and cultural capital is an effect of FGCG status. However, age appears to have a significant effect on the number of days of poor mental health, as well. I suggest reasons for this finding in the discussion.