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An Intervention Program to Enhance College Adjustment: Moderating Effects of Gender, Attachment Status, and Anxious Expectations Leonie J. Brooks Jonathan.

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Presentation on theme: "An Intervention Program to Enhance College Adjustment: Moderating Effects of Gender, Attachment Status, and Anxious Expectations Leonie J. Brooks Jonathan."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Intervention Program to Enhance College Adjustment: Moderating Effects of Gender, Attachment Status, and Anxious Expectations Leonie J. Brooks Jonathan F. Mattanah Jonathan F. Mattanah Jean F. Ayers Julie L. Quimby Bethany L. Brand Bethany L. Brand

2 Social Support Intervention Research with First Year College Students ► Brief, group-based psychosocial interventions are effective in enhancing adjustment to college (Lamothe, et al., 1995; Oppenheimer, 1984; Pratt et al, 2000; Ayers, Mattanah, Brooks, Quimby, & Brand, 2006). ► In general, social support interventions facilitate social-emotional adjustment, reduce substance use, and increase class attendance.

3 Social Support Intervention Research with First Year College Students ► Do these interventions work equally well for all students?  Students initially high in social anxiety benefited the most from intervention (Oppenheimer, 1984)  Intervention effects were stronger for female than males students (Pratt et al., 2000) ► The current study examined whether gender, attachment status (low vs. high avoidant attachment) and anxious expectations about the college transition moderated the effects of a social support based intervention program.

4 Moderation Effect ► Moderation Effect: The Effect of the 1 st Independent Variable (in this case intervention status) is not the same at all levels of the 2 nd independent variable (in this case, attachment status, gender, or level of anxiety prior to matriculation).

5 Enduring Connections: The Transition to Towson University ► An 9-week social support group program adapted from Pratt et al. Same study as discussed in previous presentation. ► Participants  184 first year college students (55 men & 129 women); all analyses in this presentation focus on the first year of data collection (N=88; 45 intervention participants and 43 control participants)

6 Measures  Beck Depression Inventory  UCLA Loneliness Scale  Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire  Experiences in Close Relationships Questionnaire (measures levels of avoidant and anxious attachment to romantic partners)  New College Students Concerns Scale (measures anxious concerns and expectations the summer prior to matriculation into college)

7 Figure 1: Effects of Gender and Intervention on Spring Adjustment Outcomes Control GroupIntervention GroupEffect MaleFemaleMaleFemale Social adj A, B Emotional adj Loneliness A, B Depression A = main effect for intervention B = main effect for gender

8 Intervention and Gender Effects – Social Adjustment Dimensions Male and female intervention participants reported better social adjustment and less loneliness than control participants. Male students reported better social adjustment and less loneliness than female students.

9 Intervention and Gender Effects – Emotional Adjustment Dimensions Groups did not differ significantly on emotional adjustment or depression. Males seemed to benefit a bit more than females in terms of their emotional adjustment.

10 Figure 2: Effect of Intervention and Avoidant Attachment on Spring Adjustment Outcomes Control GroupIntervention Group Effects Low AvoidHigh AvoidLow AvoidHigh Avoid Social adj A Emot adj Lonely A, B Depress A = Main Effect for Intervention B = Main Effect for Avoidant Attachment

11 Intervention and Avoidant Attachment – Social Adjustment Dimensions The intervention enhanced social adjustment and reduced loneliness for students both high and low in avoidant attachment. Students high in avoidant attachment had more loneliness than students low in avoidant attachment.

12 Intervention and Avoidant Attachment – Emotional Adjustment Dimensions Non-significant interactive patterns suggest that highly avoidant students have poorer emotional adjustment and greater depressive symptoms when in the intervention group than when in the control group!

13 Figure 3: Effects of Intervention and Anxious Expectations on Spring Adjustment Outcomes Control GroupIntervention GroupEffects Low Anx.High Anx.Low Anx.High Anx. Social adj A, B Emot adj B Loneliness A, B Depression B A = Main effect for Intervention B = Main effect for Anxious Expectations

14 Intervention and Anxious Expectations – Social Adjustment Dimensions Intervention enhanced social adjustment and reduced loneliness for students both high and low in anxious expectations. Students high in anxious expectations had poorer social adjustment and greater loneliness.

15 Intervention and Anxious Expectations – Emotional Adjustment Dimensions No main effects for the intervention on emotional adjustment dimensions. Students high in anxious expectations had poorer emotional adjustment and greater depressive symptoms than students low in anxious expectations.

16 Suggestive Conclusions ► Social support intervention is equally effective for male and female college students. Contrasts with findings from Pratt’s lab. ► Anxious expectations regarding college adjustment can be ameliorated by a social support intervention but will still lead to some adjustment difficulties the first year. ► Students with a history of avoidant attachment can be helped socially by a social support program but may report some increase in depressive feelings and some greater emotional adjustment difficulties during such an intervention (such a treatment works against their characteristic defensive patterns). The treatment appears to be helpful (socially) but emotionally activating for these avoidant individuals.


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