Stress and subjective well-being among first year UK undergraduate students

DENOVAN, Andrew and MACASKILL, Ann (2016). Stress and subjective well-being among first year UK undergraduate students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 18 (2), 505-525.

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Transition to university is stressful and successful adjustment is imperative for well-being. Historically research on transitional stress focussed on negative outcomes and ill health. This is the first UK study applying a positive psychology approach to investigate the characteristics that facilitate adjustment among new university students. A range of psychological strengths conceptualised as covitality factors, shown individually to influence the stress and subjective well-being (SWB) relationship were assessed among 192 first year UK undergraduates in week three of their first semester and again six months later. Path analyses revealed that optimism mediated the relationship between stress and negative affect (a component of SWB) over time, and academic self-efficacy demonstrated significant relationships with life satisfaction and positive affect. Contrary to predictions, stress levels remained stable over time although academic alienation increased and self-efficacy decreased. Optimism emerged as a key factor for new students to adjust to university, helping to buffer the impact of stress on well-being throughout the academic year. Incorporating stress management and psycho-educational interventions to develop strengths is discussed as a way of promoting confidence and agency in new students to help them cope better with the stress at university.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: says can only be made publically available in a repository 12 months after official publication. Was published online on 05 April 2016.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Psychology Research Group
Identification Number:
Page Range: 505-525
Depositing User: Ann Macaskill
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2016 10:52
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 00:54

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