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Supporting First-Year Students During the Transition to Higher Education: The Importance of Quality and Source of Received Support for Student Well-Being

Abstract

The present exploratory study evaluated perceptions of actual support received in relation to stress and well-being among first-year students attending Canadian and U.S. higher education institutions (N = 126). Given that traditional assessments of received support account only for how often support was received, the present research examined unique effects of support quality in addition to frequency with respect to four distinct sources of support (family, friends, faculty/staff, institution). Following from empirical confirmation of received support frequency (RSF) and received support quality (RSQ) as distinguishable constructs, RSQ was found to significantly mediate effects of RSF across varied well-being outcomes (e.g., stress, burnout, quitting intentions) in relation to family, faculty/staff, and institution support. Overall, study findings highlight the importance of evaluating the quality of support received by first-year students during the transition to higher education and show faculty/staff support to be an important contributor to student well-being.

Published:
Pages:64 to 75
Section: Articles
1 citation(s) in Scopus
0 citation(s) in Web of Science

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Author Biographies

McGill University
Canada Canada

Rebecca Maymon completed her PhD in Educational Psychology at McGill University, where her research focused primarily on stress, coping, motivation, and emotions. She is particularly interested in how social support helps university students cope with stress, and in developing programs that foster professional skills development and employability for higher education graduates.

McGill University
Canada Canada

Nathan Hall is an Associate Professor and Director of the Learning Sciences graduate program in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill University. Funded by provincial, national, and international granting agencies and foundations (e.g., SSHRC, CIHR, FQRSC, Spencer, Humboldt), Dr. Hall’s research explores the roles of motivational beliefs, emotion regulation, and educational interventions in psychological adjustment and performance in both educational domains (students and educators in K-12 and post-secondary contexts) and health care settings (e.g., serious illness).

McGill University; Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre; University of Alberta
Canada Canada

Dr. Jason M. Harley is an Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, McGill University; Junior Scientist, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC); Associate Member, Institute for Health Sciences Education, McGill University; Associate Member, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, McGill University; and Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta, Educational Psychology. Their interests include surgical education, simulation, technology and emotion in education.