Feeling Stress: The Impact of Social Support on Perceptions of Stress
The goal of this study was to better understand the processes that underlie the perception of stress during times of transition, specifically among first year college students. One factor that has proven to be critical to buffering young people from the deleterious impact of stress is social support. While the existing literature reflects a variety of conceptualizations of social support, the current study provides a new and unique conceptualization of social support. The theory tested here identifies levels of volitional and purposeful involvement as an important variable in determining people’s perceptions of social support. The sample of first year college students completed a battery of self-report instruments designed to assess relationships among purposeful involvement, perceived stress, and perceived social support. While no significant relationships were found for the hypothesized model of social support, a very interesting and important mediating effect of other esteem was found. Other esteem, individuals’ feeling of how others value their presence and contributions to the social environment was found to mediate the relationship between campus connectedness and perceived stress. This result points to the possibility that other esteem is driving how first year college students perceive stress.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2014
- F&M Theses Collection 
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