Presentation on theme: "Freshmeat : Psychosocial and Health Behaviors of Adolescents Transitioning to College ALBEE THERESE S. ONGSUCO, B.S., LAURA ANDERSON, PH.D."— Presentation transcript:
Freshmeat : Psychosocial and Health Behaviors of Adolescents Transitioning to College ALBEE THERESE S. ONGSUCO, B.S., LAURA ANDERSON, PH.D. AND CRAIG BECKER, PH.D., BACKGROUND Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Scale (COPE) A 16-item questionnaire assesses specific coping strategies each student utilizes to deal with stress in her/his life in the transition into college. Coping measures for the experimental group yielded significantly lower avoidant coping and significantly higher problem-solving coping than the control group. The intervention group also showed a decrease in depressive symptoms, negative affect, and perceived stress (Steinhardt & Dolbier, 2008). i)Freshmen students, ages (N = 301) with lower PSS scores were more likely to report higher SWPS scores (r = -0.28, p = 0.05). ii)Freshmen who reported higher COPE scores were more likely to report higher SWPS scores (r = 0.23, p = 0.01). iii)Freshmen who reported higher CAT scores were more likely to report higher SWPS scores (r = 0.18, p = 0.05). iv)No significant association was found for separate SWPS, CAT, COPE, and PSS scores with BMI. v)No significant association was found for separate SWPS, CAT, COPE, and PSS scores with GPA. MATERIALS RESULTS MATERIALS Changes in life can be major stressors, and late adolescents experience this in the transition from high school to college. Maladaptive Behaviors: Depressive symptoms and disordered eating were common in college- age women (VanBoven & Espelage, 2006). Consuming alcohol is more common in college freshmen who lacked effective coping strategies to deal with distress (O'Connor & Colder, 2005). Students with more weight stigma experiences brought on by perceived stress were more likely to have higher body mass indices, more body dissatisfaction, and were less likely to exercise (Vartanian & Shaprow, 2008). Strength-Based Behaviors: Positive traits in college freshmen such as stronger problem-focused coping strategies were found to correlate with higher motivation and higher academic performance (Struthers, Perry, & Menec, 2000). College students who reported having higher self-esteem, stronger peer and parent attachments, and an internally directed locus of control were predicted to have higher scholastic competence (Fass & Tubman, 2002). Tim Williams, senior undergraduate assistant, graduated Fall 2009 Jennifer Sutherland, senior undergraduate assistant, graduating in Spring 2010 Samantha Scuderi, junior undergraduate assistant, graduating in Spring 2011 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Salutogenic Wellness Promotion Scale (SWPS) This is a 26-item questionnaire developed as measure of positive health (Becker, Whetstone, Glasscoff, & Moore, 2008). It is a health scale with a salutogenic focus that assesses health-promoting actions in seven dimensions of life: vocational, spiritual, emotional, social, environment, intellectual, and physical. College Adjustment Test (CAT) A 19-item survey designed to assess college freshmens levels of homesickness, loneliness, and college-related difficulties within the first year of school. It has been used as an independent variable to determine the emotional health of college students and how this impacts the content of reflective journal writing assignments at the college level (Graybeal, Sexton, & Pennebaker, 2002). Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) The 14-item PSS measures how much we consider all of lifes stressors as being harmful to us and how much control we believe we have over our ability to control our stress. It has been used to help predict certain health outcomes in students (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) and as a way of testing the effectiveness of some stress and anxiety reducing interventions (Deckro, 2002). PURPOSE The main focus of this presentation is to examine the psychosocial functioning and health practices of college freshmen by determining the degree of association among their health behaviors and psychosocial functioning. In addition, the degree of association among these factors with students grade point averages and body mass indices will be reported.. Research Questions In a sample of freshmen students from an eastern North Carolina university, what are the associations between: i)students PSS scores with their SWPS scores ? ii)students COPE scores with their SWPS scores? iii)students CAT scores with their SWPS scores? iv)students SWPS, CAT, COPE, and PSS scores (separately) with their body mass indices (BMI)? v)students SWPS, CAT, COPE, and PSS scores (separately) with their grade point averages (GPA)? DISCUSSION School psychologists can develop targeted interventions to promote college adjustment and positive health behaviors in adolescents in their first year of college. Strategies to promote stress management and reduction and to develop positive coping skills can help students to engage in positive health behaviors. In addition, activities to explore future concerns of adjustment in the college environment can also prepare students to engage in more positive health behaviors. School psychologists in secondary schools benefit from additional health-related promotion tools for transitioning high school seniors. METHOD Participants completed an online survey from an institutional experiment scheduling system. They received research credit for completing approximately 60 minutes worth of questionnaires which inquire about their current health practices, psychosocial functioning, and demographic information. PASW software was used to analyze the data. Data was collected from Spring of 2008 to Fall 2009, and the total number of participants were 1244.