You Can Count on Me: The Relationships Between Housing, Social Integration, and Adjustment Among First-Year McMaster Students


  • Katherine Cooper
  • Maiya Bertola
  • Jessica Aranyush
  • Jewel Pheasant-Dumont
  • Vanessa Richards


The first year of university is an exciting experience, but it can also be quite stressful as students face many changes. Though research on first-year students in general is abundant, little is known about the relationship between where they live and how socially integrated and adjusted to university they feel. No research has considered this relationship in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our mixed-methods study aimed to fill these gaps. Participants (n=45), primarily 18-year-old females residing on campus, completed quantitative scales and open-ended questions in an anonymous online survey. Quantitative results revealed a non-significant positive relationship between students’ social integration and adjustment, and a significant positive relationship between students’ perceived social support and adjustment. Students living off campus with other students reported greater social integration than those living on campus or at home, but not significantly. Contrasting our quantitative results, qualitative results showed that students believed their housing had a significant impact on their sense of social integration and adjustment. Additionally, students reported feeling supported by their friends in three primary ways: emotional support, instrumental support, and by providing social interaction. We hope that these findings can be used to enhance the first-year experience by improving social programs and adding supports.






Thesis Papers