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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Role Of Perceived Support From Parents and On- And Off-Campus Friends In First- And Non-First-Generation College Students' Life Satisfaction


First-year college students, especially first-generation attendees (FGC; neither parent finished college), often have difficulties adjusting to school. The present study examines the social and instrumental support these students receive during their first year of college and its role in their life satisfaction, a dimension of psychological well-being (Jenkins et al., 2013). In this study, 244 first-year college students (107 FGC) completed an online survey that asked about their perceived support and instrumental help from parents and on- and off-campus friends, as well as the students’ overall life satisfaction. Results showed that, regardless of college-generation status, students reported feeling more social support than instrumental help from family and off-campus friends. For both FGC students and non-FGC students, there was a positive relationship between perceived social support and help from family and friends and student’s satisfaction with life. The findings suggest that university professionals should try to involve families and other supportive persons, including on- and off-campus friends, in students’ first- year college experience to help students adjust to this new setting.

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