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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition

Publication Details

Adjustment to College in Nonresidential First-Year Students: The Roles of Stress, Family, and Coping


Author(s): Gefen, D., & Fish, M. C.

Citation: Gefen, D., & Fish, M. C. (2013). Adjustment to College in Nonresidential First-Year Students: The Roles of Stress, Family, and Coping. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 25(2), 95-115.

 

Abstract

This study explored factors related to college adjustment in nonresidential first-year students. It was hypothesized that stress, family functioning, and coping strategies would predict academic, personal-emotional, and social adjustment in addition to institutional attachment. The sample comprised 167 first-year college students (ages 18-23) recruited from the departments of psychology at two large, urban commuter colleges in the Northeast. Results revealed that balanced family functioning was associated with low levels of perceived stress and specific coping strategies, mainly strategies that were problem-focused. Academic, social, and personal-emotional adjustment and institutional attachment were predicted by stress, family functioning, and specific coping strategies, such as spiritual support and problem solving, which were found to predict subtypes of adjustment above and beyond other factors. Implications for personnel working with first-year college students, such as mental health counselors, are provided, as well as directions for future research.

 

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