The transition to university : adaptation and adjustment
Smith, Melanie L
Beginning university can be conceptualized as a stressful life event as both positive aspects and several new challenges are associated with the transition (Hudd, Dumlao, Erdmann-Sager, Murry, Phan et al., 2000; Kerr, Johnson, Gans, Krumrine, 2004; Lamothe, Currie, Alisat, Sullivan, Pratt et al., 1995). Sometimes a poor transition may result in a student’s inability to complete their degree. It is important to develop a more thorough understanding of the transition to university in order to improve student retention. The present investigation considered a range of demographic, psychosocial, and health behaviours that may be related to a student’s ability to adapt to university. These variables were investigated using a short-term longitudinal design over the first year of university. Participants (Time 1 N = 229, Time 2 N = 73) consisted of first year University of Saskatchewan students (age, M = 18.46, SD =1). Results suggested that approximately 1/3 of the students found the transition to university to be difficult and that in general women had a more difficult time than men in terms of social and personal/emotional adjustment. There was no significant difference in academic adjustment or achievement between men and women. Psychosocial variables and health behaviours were related to one another such that greater physical activity levels went hand in hand with more adaptive coping and higher levels of social support and self-esteem. During the first semester, easier transitions and better adjustment were largely predicted by more adaptive coping, good social support, better grades and fewer daily hassles. For women, second semester transition experiences and adjustment measures were strongly predicted by the same measures as observed in the first semester.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeMacGregor, Michael Wm.; Lawson, Karen L.; Kowalski, Kent