Belonging and Adjustment for LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ Students during the Social Transition to University

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Journal Article
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American Psychological Association
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Johnston H
Sotardi, Valerie
Surtees, Nicola
Vincent, Kerry

The transition to university can be challenging not only for the general student population but also for LGBTQ+ students, whose social experiences may be particularly demanding. In the current research, we explore first-year students’ perceptions of belonging and social adjustment by (a) estimating whether such perceptions relate to achievement motivation, well-being, and academic performance, and (b) identifying whether these trends differ for LGBTQ+ students. First-year students from one public university in New Zealand (n = 896) completed a questionnaire to report their early experiences in higher education. Grade Point Average (GPA) was provided by the institution. Results using descriptive statistics and regression-based, moderation models offer empirical support that belongingness and social adjustment have the potential to impact first-year students in meaningful ways, and that some of these patterns vary between LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ students. Individuals who reported institutional belonging and felt as though they had adjusted well to university also reported high levels of achievement motivation and well-being. Meanwhile, individuals who reported peer belonging were linked to weaker achievement motivation yet a higher GPA. Our results introduce new evidence that although LGBTQ+ students reported relatively poorer well-being, they experienced relatively more enjoyment and less boredom in their classes. Interactions from moderation testing reveal that the statistical predictions of belongingness and social adjustment for academic self-efficacy and subjective well-being differed between LGBTQ+ and nonLGBTQ+ students. We discuss the practical implications of our results and identify ways for higher educational institutions to support first-year students.

Sotardi V, Surtees N, Vincent K, Johnston H (2021). Belonging and Adjustment for LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ Students during the Social Transition to University Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
LGBTQ+, belonging, achievement emotions, well-being, self-efficacy, GPA
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
Fields of Research::39 - Education::3904 - Specialist studies in education::390412 - Teacher and student wellbeing
Fields of Research::39 - Education::3904 - Specialist studies in education::390406 - Gender, sexuality and education
Fields of Research::39 - Education::3903 - Education systems::390303 - Higher education
Fields of Research::52 - Psychology::5204 - Cognitive and computational psychology::520403 - Learning, motivation and emotion
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