Adjustment to University: Predictors, Outcomes and Trajectories

Mohamed, Nadiah (2012) Adjustment to University: Predictors, Outcomes and Trajectories. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

[thumbnail of Thesis document]
PDF (Thesis document) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.



The transition to university presents students with considerable academic, social and emotional challenges. This thesis explored adjustment to university life in a UK post-1992 institution. Predictors of adjustment, patterns of adjustment over time and the effects of adjustment on student success were examined, using the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ).

A preliminary study indicated that the ‘psychological strength’ variables demonstrated to be important for adjustment in international research (viz., self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of control, social support and attachment security) also predicted adjustment in the current setting, and that emotional intelligence (EI) may also have something useful to offer as a predictor.

Consequently, a follow-up study was undertaken to explore relations between adjustment to university and four disparate measures of EI. Results indicated that the self-report/trait EI measures (viz., the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale [SEIS], the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire - Short Form [TEIQue-SF] and the Emotional Self-Efficacy Scale [ESES]) were more strongly related to university adjustment criteria than the MSCEIT ‘ability’ measure, and that the TEIQue performed substantially better than the SEIS and ESES in this regard. However, the MSCEIT was superior with respect to the prediction of incremental variance in adjustment criteria over and above personality, IQ and other competing predictors.

Longitudinal investigations of the course of adjustment over the first two years of university indicated that whilst levels of overall adjustment, personal-emotional adjustment and institutional attachment were relatively stable over time, academic and social adjustment demonstrated decreasing and increasing trends respectively. Moreover the longitudinal analyses indicated that psychosocial variables measured at the start of university predict not only short-term but also long-run patterns of adjustment; the initial adjustment advantage of those who scored higher on psychosocial variables during the second month of university was maintained over the first two years.

Finally, relations between SACQ-measured adjustment in month two of university, and student success (i.e., continued enrolment and academic performance) in Years 1 and 2 were assessed. Associations between adjustment and Year 1 persistence were weak, and no relations were evident between adjustment and Year 2 persistence. Some adjustment facets were weakly predictive of Year 1 and Year 2 academic success.

Repository Staff Only: item control page