Type of Document Thesis Author Dreher, Desaree Valerie Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-09052008-201734 Title The Relationship Between Social Support and College Adjustment in Intercollegiate Athletes Degree Master of Science Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Robert Eklund Committee Chair Gershon Tenenbaum Committee Member Jeannine Turner Committee Member Keywords
- College Adjustment
- Social Support
- Support Network
Date of Defense 2008-07-31 Availability unrestricted AbstractOver the last 30 – 40 years, transitions (e.g. college, marriage, retirement), in general, and their outcomes have gained growing attention (Halamandarus & Power, 1999). Transitions break down habitual patterns of action and force the individual to form new behaviors to fit his or her novel experience (Dornbusch, 2000). Late adolescence is a period marked by numerous developmental changes and novel experiences that the individual needs to conquer in order to prepare for adulthood (Pratt, Bowers, Terzian, Hunsberger, Mackey, Thomas, et al., 2000; Tao, Dong, Pratt, Hunsberger, & Pancer, 2000). One significant juncture for many late adolescents is the entrance into college. Even though some students find the transition into college as a challenge to personal growth, many students are overwhelmed and experience stress (Wintre & Yaffe, 2000).
In 1999, approximately 60% of adolescents attended college where as only 15% attended in the 1930s (Steinberg, 1999). Despite this increase in the pursuit of higher education, many college freshmen end up transferring from their original institution or dropping out of college entirely. The current university attrition rate among American and Canadian freshmen is 25% (Wintre, Bowers, Gordner, & Lange, 2006), although, this rate does not include students who transferred to another university or re-entered college at a later point.
Several studies have reported the beneficial effects of social support during the transition to college (Pratt et al., 2000; Tao et al., 2000; Hinderlie & Kenny, 2002; Schwitzer, Robbins, & McGovern, 1993; Halamandaris & Power, 1999). In particular, studies have found that peer support significantly affects one’s adjustment to college (Hinderlie & Kenny, 2002; Pratt et al., 2000; Giacobbi, Lynn, Wetherington, Jenkins, Bodendorf, & Langley, 2004; Hays & Oxley, 1986; Wiseman 1997). It may be that first-year student-athletes are more fortunate than other students because they enter college with a pre-existing support network of teammates who can
aid in their transition. For example, first-year student-athletes have reported in interviews that fellow teammates positively affected their adjustment to college (Giacobbi et al., 2004).
Currently, there is limited research on the transition into college for student-athletes. The aim of the present study was to advance the understanding of the impact of social support on student-athletes during their transition into college, and compare this to nonathlete-students. Specifically, the aim of this study was to investigate the impact of team support on adjustment in first-year student-athletes. The results have indicated that student-athletes', both first-year and second-year, were similarly adjusted to college than first-year and second-year nonathlete-students. There was a significant difference in network composition between student-athletes and nonathlete-students, indicating that student-athletes rely on the appropriate support providers (i.e. athletes). However, when compared to nonathlete-students, student-athletes did not display higher college adjustment scores. In fact, both groups exhibited normatively typical adjustment scores. Furthermore, results indicated that there was no difference in adjustment scores between first-year and second-year student-athletes.
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