Researchers have examined students' adjustment to college—why some students make the transition successfully, whereas others struggle or leave school after only a short time (e.g., Ezezek, 1994; Holmbek & Wandrei, 1993). Efforts to support students through this transition must draw upon a more complete understanding of variables that place students at risk for a stressful transition and protective factors that promote positive adaptation. Recent research has been focused on both individual and contextual variables including gender, racial identity, coping strategies, stress, social support and attachment (Feenstra, Banyard, Rines, & Hopkins, 2000; Klasner & Pistole, 2003; Pritchard & Wilson, 2003) and suggests the need for more research that goes beyond explaining academic success from "demographic and academic variables" (Pritchard & Wilson, p. 18). The current study is an examination of a group of students potentially at risk for a stressful transition to college: students who are survivors of traumatic stress. For the purposes of this research, trauma is defined broadly as a range of events that overwhelm an individual's coping capacities and involves threats of serious injury or death to self or someone close to the individual (e.g., Pynoos, 1993). This examination was of variation in the transition to college among a sample of trauma survivors, of the roles of social relationships and supports, coping, and making meaning of the trauma in explaining variance in resilience in adjusting to college.


Psychology, Prevention Innovations Research Center Pubs

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Journal of College Student Development


Johns Hopkins University Press

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