Time-Management in Emerging Adulthood During the Transition to University
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Attending university for the first time involves a stressful transition for most emerging adults, with a substantial minority of students experiencing serious difficulties. To provide a framework for understanding self-regulation and development during this period, the Regulation Extension to Sameroff's Unified Theory of Development (RESUTD) was proposed. Study One used a longitudinal design with a sample of emerging adults transitioning to university to test the proposed RESUTD model. Participant data originated from the Transition to University (T2U) project (Buote et al., 2007; Wintre et al., 2009), a longitudinal, collaborative, multi-site investigation examining undergraduate students university experiences, with two cohorts of data starting in 2004 and 2005. Analyses revealed a significant and notable impact of pre-existing student attributes, including socio-economic status (SES), high school graduating average (HGPA), and gender. Gender was a significant predictor of the intercept of the three outcome measures, such that, female students reported a greater initial level of stress and depressive symptomatology, and lower initial adjustment levels. Both SES and HGPA were also significant predictors of the intercept for student adjustment and emotional well-being, with higher values on both variables associated with better adjustment and well-being outcomes. The analyses also revealed the significant and continuous impact of both internal and external regulatory resources on student adjustment to university and emotional well-being outcomes. Study Two aimed to develop and evaluate an effective intervention for supporting the improvement of students self-regulatory skills. A time-management intervention was designed with a focus on teaching students strategies to bolster their internal and external regulatory resources through both enhanced awareness of optimal behaviours, and the use of strategies that can modify the students environment. Being part of the intervention group was predictive of higher grades and accounted for approximately 10% of the variation in the final course grades after controlling for SES and HGPA. Compared to the control group, academic adjustment scores of the students in the intervention group increased after the workshop with a large effect size; and the perceived stress scores of the students in the intervention group had decreased, with a medium effect size. Implications for future research and the application of the findings to intervention efforts are discussed.