The impact of freshmen college leadership experiences on their leader self-efficacy development in historically black institutions

Alaba Apesin (Department of Business Administration and Accounting, Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, Vermont, USA)
Tao Gong (Department of Social Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Maryland, USA)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 2 July 2018



The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of college leadership experiences on the leader self-efficacy development of freshmen in two historically black institutions (HBIs).


Data were collected in two phases from 200 freshmen to assess their leader self-efficacies at the beginning and end of a 16-week semester. The authors developed an eight-item questionnaire to measure college leadership experiences and adapted the 22-item leader efficacy questionnaire developed by Hannah and Avolio (2013) to measure self-efficacy.


The result of the structural equation modeling revealed that college leadership experiences have a significant positive impact on college leader self-efficacy. Moreover, college leadership experiences significantly mediated the effect of high school leadership experiences on college leader self-efficacy. Pre-college leader self-efficacy had a significant positive effect on college leader self-efficacy but an insignificant effect on college leadership experiences. The findings indicated that holding leadership positions and volunteering in the first semester of college were positively and strongly related to college leadership experiences.


First, this study will empirically examine the causal relationships between college leadership experiences and leader self-efficacy by controlling for the effect of the pre-college leader efficacy. Without controlling for the pre-existing differences among participants, the effects of college leadership experiences on leader self-efficacy development may be overestimated. Second, despite self-efficacy being a critical component in leadership models and being important in boosting leaders’ confidence, only limited research uses well-defined conceptual leadership models in studying student leader self-efficacy. This study fills the gap by using a contemporary conceptual model that encompasses the key leadership variables necessary in assessing the student leadership development.



Apesin, A. and Gong, T. (2018), "The impact of freshmen college leadership experiences on their leader self-efficacy development in historically black institutions", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 283-295.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.