Supports from friends as predictors of stress and school outcomes during the transition to college: A longitudinal study
Donlan, Alice Elizabeth
Wentzel, Kathryn R
MetadataShow full item record
This study investigated relations among support from friends, stress, friendship goals, and school-related outcomes during the transition from high school to college. A conceptual framework was developed to examine a) the extent to which the degree of context change during the transition predicts levels of school belongingness and GPA; b) the extent to which stress mediates the potential relation between context change and school-related outcomes; c) the extent to which social supports from high school friends and college friends moderate the relation between stress and school related outcomes; and d) the extent to which precollege friendship formation and maintenance goals predict future levels of support from high school friends and college friends. Data were collected at four time points that represent major milestones in the transition process: (T1) precollege, (T2) the beginning of the first semester, (T3) the end of the first semester, and (T4) the beginning of the second semester. Psychometric properties of the support scales were investigated through confirmatory factor analysis. Descriptive statistics and results regarding mean variable change over time are provided. Multiple regression analyses replicated previous findings that stress negatively predicts school belongingness over time. Furthermore, perceived supports from college friends predicted increased college belonging over time, while perceived supports from high school friends did not. None of the support by stress interaction terms significantly predicted school outcomes, indicating that evidence for a moderation pathway was not found. Results from a latent variable path analysis did not provide evidence that a precollege goal to form friendships predicts future support from college friends, nor that a precollege goal to maintain friendships positively predicts future support from high school friends; models had only borderline fit. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.