College Student Psychological Adjustment: Exploring Relational Dynamics That Predict Success

College Student Psychological Adjustment: Exploring Relational Dynamics

Jonathan Mattanah

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This brief, clear and well-written book summarizes and integrates the research evidence on the role of social relationships in the experiences and adaptation of students to college life. In three well-organized chapters, Professor Mattanah, a clinical and developmental psychologist, describes the findings from research on college students regarding family and parent relationships, on peer and romantic relationships, and on group interventions that have been designed to help students thrive and have relationships that are more successful. The book insightfully focuses attention on the central topic of social relationship development during this general period of emerging adulthood, as students are transitioning from adolescence toward adulthood in the context of college life. The topics covered in each chapter are varied, timely and important and the reviews and summaries in each chapter are lively, thoughtful, practical and integrative. The research reviewed is up-to-date and clearly described. The use of a broad, attachment theory perspective to frame the evidence is helpful and provides a strong framework for understanding the big picture of this growing research field. Students, parents and researchers, as well as counselling practitioners, should find this succinct book enjoyable to read and helpful in understanding the issues. I recommend it very highly. -Michael W. Pratt, Professor Emeritus, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada

I truly enjoyed reading this book. It provides an incredibly thorough scientific discussion of relational dynamics that affect college students. It hits all of the major relationships, gives the reader a clear understanding of the key issues, and findings, as well as the programs that have been shown to be effective in helping college students have healthy relationships. It is written in a highly accessible manner, one that researchers, school personnel, students, and even parents will find understandable and useful. I highly recommend it for all of them. It is an absolute guidebook for anyone who wants to know how to foster healthy relationships and good outcomes for college students. -Joanne Davila, PhD, Professor and Director of Clinical Training, Stony Brook University

A superb synthesis of the research on the dynamics of college students’ relationships written in an accessible manner. A must-read for administrators, faculty, and students in higher education who seek to understand the complexities of students’ relationships with parents, peers, faculty, and romantic partners and the opportunities these relationships pose for student growth. -Laura J. Holt, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology, Trinity College

College Student Psychological Adjustment provides the reader an in-depth understanding of students’ relationship experiences in college and how those experiences shape their adjustment to college. Each chapter examines research on one key relationship in a student’s life to better understand how those relationships are re-worked during the college years and what factors help determine adaptive relational outcomes. Along the way, a number of controversial topics are considered from a scholarly perspective, including the effects of helicopter parenting on students’ development in college, the prevalence and problematic nature of the hook-up culture on college campuses today, and policies related to whether students should be randomly assigned to live with their first-year roommates or be allowed to choose their roommates, based on a matching system.

Aimed at advanced students and scholars in the fields of psychology, human development, and higher education, readers of this book will gain a fresh perspective on the relationship development of college students and possible avenues for intervention to help students enhance their relationships skills and prevent development of mental health difficulties.

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Jonathan Mattanah

Jonathan Mattanah

Dr. Mattanah has taught courses in clinical and developmental psychology for 17 years as a professor at Towson University and conducted research on college student adjustment. He is a member of the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and the American Psychological Association and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Counseling Psychology.