Major Adjustment Problems, Help Seeking Behaviors and Coping Strategies of First Year Students in Wolaita Sodo University

Eskinder Woldeyesus Ersado


The main objective of the study was to assess the adjustment problems, help seeking behaviors, coping strategies, the difference between male and female students in their separation anxiety and to determine the relationship between the overall campus adjustment and academic achievement of first year students at Wolaita Sodo University.  The target population was 770 first year students accepted to the university in regular program in the year 2014/15. Among these, 102 (57 male and 45 female) students were selected using multi-stage sampling technique and involved in the study.  The data were collected using questionnaires and interview guidelines. The questionnaires were adapted from the already existing tools, but the interview guide was locally developed based on literature in the area.  For analysis, both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed. The qualitative data depicted that the students were challenged by adjustment problems from four basic dimensions. These adjustment problem dimensions were academic, social, personal-emotional and institutional attachment dimensions. Quantitative analysis findings showed that students’ overall campus adjustment was at moderate level and male students were found to be better adjusted compared to female students. According to the results of the study there was statistically significant positive relationship between students’ adjustment and their academic achievement.  Academic adjustment became the first predictor of the students’ academic performance and followed by the personal-emotional adjustment.  It was revealed that the students primary help sources were non-professional sources such as their friends and senior students instead of campus counselor and their academic advisors. Dysfunctional coping strategies (smoking, chewing, prolonged worry and regret etc) were the main mechanisms used by the students to alleviate their adjustment problems. There was a significant difference between males (M =1.19, SD = 0.92) and females (M = 1.69, SD = 0.95) on parental over-protectiveness scores (POPS) question “My parents were very overprotective of me growing up,” t (104) = 2.74, p < .05. Female students reported a higher frequency in over-protectiveness from parents than males did.

Keywords: Adjustment Problems, Help Seeking Behaviors and Coping Strategies.

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