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Title:Subjective Culture, Perceived Social Support, and Adaptive Coping: A Multi-Ethnic Study of the Transition to College
Author(s):Ebreo, Angela Christine
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Triandis, Harry C.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:This multi-ethnic study supports the role of subjective culture and perceived social support as important social psychological mechanisms in successful coping during the stressful college transition. Longitudinal survey data obtained from 449 students (133 Whites, 124 Asian Americans, 121 African Americans, and 71 Latinos/as) attending a primarily White academic institution were analyzed to investigate the combined effects of cultural collectivism-individualism, acculturation, and perceived social support on psychological and academic adjustment. Psychometric analyses revealed that the measures assessing the major variables of interest were reliable for all ethnic groups. Analyses of variance found an ethnic pattern with similar levels of social support across the four groups. The ethnic groups were also similar on levels of collectivism and individualism. In terms of acculturation, African Americans were more engaged with their own ethnic group than Latinos/as or Asian Americans. Cultural collectivism but not acculturation was associated with perceived support; higher levels of perceived support were related to increased tendencies toward collectivism. Hierarchical regressions revealed that perceived support from family significantly predicted psychological adjustment for all students during the first year of college, while perceived support from friends predicted the psychological adjustment of ethnic minority students during the first and third year of college. Perceived family and friend support was related to the academic performance of white, but not ethnic minority, students. As expected, the influence of collectivism and acculturation on academic adjustment differed for whites and ethnic minorities. In most cases, the inclusion of collectivism and acculturation in the regression models did not substantially improve the prediction of adjustment after accounting for the influence of perceived support. The analyses partially supported the notion that the effects of subjective culture on adjustment are mediated by perceptions of support. The study supports the continuing need to consider cultural context as a part of social psychological models of behavior within multi-cultural settings. Findings are discussed in terms of theory and research in cross-cultural psychology as well as recent work on the cultural context of the self and stereotype threat. Practical applications of the findings for student development programs are also considered.
Issue Date:1998
Description:209 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9904438
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1998

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