The Relationship of Parental Attachment, Peer Attachment, and Self-Concept to the Adjustment of First-Year College Students

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The transition to college is usually the first time many late adolescents live apart from their parents for an extended period, making it an important developmental task (Kenny, 1987) that requires a variety of adaptational resources. Bowlby's (1969/1982, 1973, 1980) attachment theory has been refined by Kenny and Rice (1995) to explain how internal working models of late adolescents are the bases of the adaptational resources that determine the quality of adjustment to college. The Kenny and Rice model may be interpreted to suggest that external resources should include relationships with parents and friends, while internal resources can include self-concept. ... continued below

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Selby, Jeanne Costello August 2000.

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  • Selby, Jeanne Costello

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The transition to college is usually the first time many late adolescents live apart from their parents for an extended period, making it an important developmental task (Kenny, 1987) that requires a variety of adaptational resources. Bowlby's (1969/1982, 1973, 1980) attachment theory has been refined by Kenny and Rice (1995) to explain how internal working models of late adolescents are the bases of the adaptational resources that determine the quality of adjustment to college. The Kenny and Rice model may be interpreted to suggest that external resources should include relationships with parents and friends, while internal resources can include self-concept. According to the authors, "these resources are assumed to moderate or buffer the effects of developmental challenges and stressful events on adjustment" (p.437). The purpose of the present study was to extend and further clarify the ways that quality attachment relationships and positive self-concept conjointly may promote healthy adaptation in the college milieu. In particular, the present study examined the influence of self-concept as a mediating variable with respect to attachment and healthy adjustment to college. Students from Freshman Psychology classes completed measures to assess their attachment relationships with each parent, their attachment relationships with peers, their level of self-concept, and their perceived adaptation to college. These measures were completed by students of traditional age (ages 18-20) within the first year of starting college. The results of the study indicate that: 1) a relationship exists between attachment and self-concept; 2) attachment is associated with college adjustment; 3) self-concept is related to college adjustment, and functions as a mediator variable between attachment and college adjustment; 4) there were no gender effects in the levels of mother or father attachment, and females reported higher levels of peer attachment; and 5) there were no gender effects in overall levels self-concept, but females reported higher levels of Moral Self-Concept.

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  • August 2000

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  • Sept. 25, 2007, 9:04 p.m.

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  • May 13, 2016, 6:39 p.m.

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Selby, Jeanne Costello. The Relationship of Parental Attachment, Peer Attachment, and Self-Concept to the Adjustment of First-Year College Students, dissertation, August 2000; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc2604/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .