Adjustment to college life

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Fleming, Teresa M.
Lovejoy, M. Christine
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Psychological Science
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Social support has been identified as an important mediator aiding adaptation during major life transitions such as matriculation in college. In the present study two models were proposed to predict social network development from measures of previous social support and individual characteristics collected prior to students' matriculation. It was hypothesized that initiation skills and previous social relationship patterns would predict the quantitative development of the students' new social support networks while negative affectivity and social relationship patterns would predict satisfaction with the forming network.The models were tested using path analysis techniques. Model I was supported. Initiation skills and relationship patterns both had significant direct effects on network size; while initiation skills also had a meaningful indirect effect on size through its effects on relationship patterns. Model II was not supported by the data. Network satisfaction was not meaningfully influenced by negative affect but was affected by initiation skills and by social relationship patterns. Changes in the characteristics of the network over time were also observed and considered. The results clarify the process through which new social networks develop and have implications for college-based intervention programs.