Relational health and positive psychology characteristics as predictors of first-year student athlete adjustment




Dell’aquila, Julia Angela


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First-year student athletes (FYSA) face distinct challenges participating in competitive athletics while completing their academic program of study including persistent performance pressure, maintaining balance within the relational dynamics of a team, social expectations, and external pressures. Participants were 65 (43 females, 22 males) FYSAs enrolled in a first-year seminar course at a mid-sized university in South Texas (Mage = 18.35 years; SD = 0.61). A stepwise regression was used to evaluate the degree that relational health and protective factors are predictive of changes in FYSAs adjustment to college. Results indicated that Resilience was a significant predictor of personal-emotional adjustment. Grit was a significant predictor of academic adjustment, personal-emotional adjustment, and institutional adjustment. Mattering was a significant predictor of academic adjustment, social adjustment, personal-emotional adjustment, and institutional adjustment, and relational health with university adjustment was a significant predictor of social adjustment, and institutional adjustment. Results can inform program development, institutional supports, and inform further research that may impact this population’s ability to adjust.



adjustment, first-year student athlete, grit, mattering, relational health, resilience



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