Family achievement guilt is the guilt students may feel for having more educational opportunities and college success than their family members (Covarrubias & Fryberg, 2015). Consequently, students may feel that they have to minimize their academic success when with their family members. In a series of studies, we found that working-class, Latino college students were more likely to report experiencing family achievement guilt than students who were working-class White, middle-class Latino, or middle-class White. In a follow-up project (Covarrubias, Romero, & Trivelli, 2014), we found that family achievement guilt is also positively related to higher depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem for working-class college students.
Building on this work, we are currently working to develop a Family Achievement Guilt Scale. Using focus group interviews, we plan to Incorporate real narratives from first-generation college students who experience this type of guilt and capture these experiences in the scale. Once developed, we plan to examine how experiences with family achievement guilt relate to issues of performance, well-being, prosocial behaviors (e.g., volunteerism, mentorship), and retention in college.