Title page for ETD etd-06062008-164042
|Type of Document
||Lease, Cynthia A.
||Separation anxiety and adjustment to college :an attachment-theoretical perspective
|No Advisors Found
|Date of Defense
The relationships between working models of attachment
and adjustment to college among first-year college students
was examined in a longitudinal study. The results of this
study indicated that when college students were classified
as secure, dismissing, or preoccupied by the Adult
Attachment Interview, significant differences emerged in
their experience of separation anxiety, self-perceived
competence, perceptions of relationships, and attachment-related
behaviors. Over half of the secure group reported
clinical levels of separation anxiety at the beginning of
the academic year, however, they showed a significant
decline in symptomatolgy over time indicating adaptive
resolution of the distress associated with the developmental
task of emancipating from home. All but one member of the
preoccupied group had clinical levels of separation anxiety
at the beginning of the year, and although they reported
some decline in symptomatology over time l decrease in the
number of symptoms did not reach statistical significance.
The preoccupied group reported having the most people upon whom they could rely for support, and they went home more
often than the other two groups. However, they were the
least satisfied with the support they received. As
predicted, separation anxiety was not prevalent in the
dismissing group at any point in time. This group also
reported the least number of people upon whom they could
rely for support, but they perceived themselves as more
socially competent than the secure or preoccupied groups.
Finally, the dismissing group showed a significant increase
in utilization of university health services across time.
These findings lend support to the idea that working models
of attachment are associated with differing approaches to
affect regulation in situational and developmental contexts
that elicit distress. Overall, the results of the present
study provide evidence that attachment is associated with
social-emotional adjustment during the course of the
adolescent's emancipation from home and entry into college.
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