Gratitude and Psychological Distress Among First-Year College Students: The Mediating Roles of Perceived Social Support and Support Provision

Qingyi Zhang, William Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Universities and colleges in the United States implemented remote learning and restrictions on in-person social events during the Fall 2020 academic semester. These changes and restrictions, in addition to the other numerous negative impacts of COVID-19, can exacerbate the already stressful transition from high school to college. This transition is a key developmental period during which the complexity of interpersonal relationships and the risk of internalizing symptoms such as anxiety and depression increase. As such, the present study examined dispositional gratitude as a protective factor against depressive symptoms and loneliness among a sample of first-year college students who began college during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also examined whether perceived social support and support provision mediated these relationships. Participants were 364 first-year college students who completed three online surveys during the 1st (T1), 7th (T2), and 14th (T3) weeks of the Fall 2020 academic semester. T1 gratitude was associated with lower T3 depressive symptoms and feelings of loneliness over time. These relationships were mediated by T2 perceived social support but not by T2 support provision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-423
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Volume70
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 30 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • first-year college students
  • gratitude
  • perceived social support
  • support provision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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