Communication With Friends and the Academic Adjustment of First- and Non-First-Generation Students in the First Year of College

Cheong, Gauvain, & Palbusa, 2019 / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice / March 2019

students in class

This study examines the role of communication with on-campus friends on first-year students’ college adjustment, measured by academic self-efficacy, among first- and non-first-generation students. It also tests whether school connectedness, students’ perceived sense of being part of the institution, mediates the relation between communication and academic self-efficacy. Participants were 246 students (55% first generation) from diverse ethnic backgrounds attending a large public university in southwestern United States. Participants completed an online survey that included the Academic Self-Efficacy Scale and School Connectedness Scale and responded to questions about frequency and mode of communication about academic, social, and personal concerns with on-campus friends. Regardless of college-generation status, students’ frequency of communication with on-campus friends was positively related to academic self-efficacy and school connectedness mediated this relation. Implications for student affairs professionals and future research are discussed.