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Social Support, Self-Esteem, and Stress as Predictors of Adjustment to University Among First-Year Undergraduates

The current study examined the joint effects of stress, social support, and self-esteem on adjustment to university. First-year undergraduate students (N = 115) were assessed during the first semester and again 10 weeks later, during the second semester of the academic year. Multiple regressions predicting adjustment to university from perceived social support (friends and family), self-esteem (academic, social, and global), and stress were conducted. From the fall to winter semesters, increased social support from friends, but not from family, predicted improved adjustment. Decreased stress predicted improved overall, academic, personal-emotional, and social adjustment. Increased global, academic, and social self-esteem predicted decreased depression and increased academic and social adjustment. Results are discussed with respect to potential mechanisms through which support and self-esteem may operate.