The role of childhood maltreatment and college interpersonal relationships on academic outcomes

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Pellegrino, Alexa
Diaz, Anjolii
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Thesis (M.A.)
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The transition to a college environment is critical, yet remains stressful, resulting in a number of students dropping out within their first year. There are a number of factors that put a student at a higher risk for poor performance, including a history of childhood maltreatment (CM) and lack of social support. Therefore, the current study aimed to further examine the interaction between childhood maltreatment, peer support, and college academic outcomes in first-year college students. Previous literature and theory suggested peer support is significantly associated with first-year college adjustment, as these relationships may assist with the stressful transition of a new environment, help to reduce alienation, foster a better attachment to the university and serve as a protective factor for this population. Thus, the current study surveyed 177 first-year students at Ball State University to examine the interactions between childhood maltreatment, peer support, and college academic outcomes. The results were anticipated to inform screening measures to identify students at particular risk for academic difficulties and also help inform the creation of effective intervention to improve academic success and college outcomes in first-year students. Results indicated four significant moderation models with peer support moderating the relationship between emotional abuse and psychological adaptation to college. Limitations and future directions are discussed.