Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Adjustment to college life and attending a university for the first time can be a stressful experience for college students. Because of the challenges faced when adapting to these life changes, college students are at risk of developing depressive symptomology. The development of depressive symptoms can lead to negative life events in the lives of college students, the most significant of which is suicide. This study examined whether stress and other factors (social support and spirituality) predicted depressive symptoms and high risk behaviors in college freshmen students. In addition, the mediating role of coping on the relationship between stress and the development of depressive symptoms was explored. A strong relationship existed between stress and depressive symptoms (r = .701, p < .01). Significant relationships also existed between perceived social support, as measured by the MSPSS, and stress (r = -.380, p < .01) and depressive symptoms (r = -.398, p < .01). No statistically significant relationships (at the p < .01 level) existed between spirituality, as measured by the DSES, and stress or depression. Two emotion focused forms of coping as measured by WOC questionnaire subscales, keep to self and wishful thinking, significantly mediated the relationship between stress and depression in this study.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.