Theses Doctoral

Dynamics of the "Divestment-Investment" Process: An Investigation of the Process of Adaptation Occurring in the Ecological Transition of Leaving Home to Live at College

Lynch, Arthur A.

The overall focus of this study was to investigate the initial adaptation process to college. The adaptation process was viewed as embedded within the ecological transition of leaving home to live at college. The primary psychosocial tasks which provided the process criterion for adaptation were contained in the "divestment-investment" process. The study was divided into 2 phases which used a cross-sectional design. The major hypotheses of Phase I predicted a relationship between perceived adjustment and perceived family characteristics, as well as between perceived adjustment and separation feelings. For Phase II the hypotheses predicted a relationship between perceived adjustment and four adaptation criterion variables: information processing, autonomy, motivation, self-esteem.

The Ss for Phase I of the study consisted of 105 male freshmen from Columbia College and the School of Engineering. The Ss were administered the Bell Adjustment Inventory which determined perceived adjustment; the Family Adaptation and Cohesion Evaluation Scale which enabled assessment of perceived family cohesion and perceived family adaptation; a Separation scale which yielded scores on separation affect; and a demographic questionnaire which measured environmental variables.

In Phase II, adjustment scores derived from Phase I were compared with the four adaptation criterion variables. The four criterion variables for adaptation were determined by four judges using a content analysis of taped interviews with Ss from a subgroup (N = 30) of the sample population.

A multivariate analysis of variance, Eta and Oneway analyses were used to obtain results from the data of Phase I. A univariate analysis of variance, and Eta analysis were used to analyze Phase II data.

The major findings of Phase I were that relationships were found to exist between the Perceived Family Cohesion scores and the perceived adjustment scores, as well as between Perceived Family Cohesion scores and the Separation scores. The major findings of Phase II were that relationships were found to exist between the adaptation criterion variables of Motivation, Autonomy, and Self-esteem on the 3 Bell Adjustment groups for the two content areas of separation issues, and academic issues.

On the basis of the information which this exploratory study has provided, it seems reasonable to suggest that the individual's perceived level of family cohesion was instrumental in his initial adaptation to college.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Whiteman, Martin
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 30, 2015