Volume 11

The Perceived Effects of Parental Attachment and Students’ Sex on Homesickness, Contentment, and College Adjustment Among College Freshmen

Rebecca Morrissey and Michele McKinnon

This study was designed to examine college students’ perceptions of scenario characters’ parental attachment style and sex on homesickness, contentment, and college adjustment. Participants were 180 undergraduate students, 80% of whom were female, who were randomly presented with one of six scenarios, then asked to answer a series of questions about the scenario. Each scenario presented a college student, described as a freshman, either male or female, living at college for his or her first semester. Each scenario also described the student as having a different attachment style to his or her parents, either secure attachment, anxious attachment, or avoidant attachment. Participants then completed surveys measuring their perceptions of the scenario character’s feelings of homesickness, contentment, and adjustment since moving to college. Results indicated that securely attached male students were perceived to have more homesickness than securely attached female students and students with insecure attachment styles and that securely attached students were perceived to be more content than students with avoidant parental attachment were. Finally, this study indicated that neither the scenario character’s parental attachment style nor sex influenced students’ perceptions of the scenario character’s college adjustment.

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