Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services

Committee Director

Alan Schwitzer

Committee Member

Jeffry Moe

Committee Member

Natalie Indelicato

Committee Member

Christine Berger


Adjustment to college is an important developmental task for students entering institutions of higher education. More than half of students who enter college report exposure to a potentially traumatic event (PTE), with many students reporting multiple event exposure (Banyard & Cantor, 2004). Many students adjust well to college despite experiencing PTEs, suggesting that certain factors may mitigate the effects of exposure. This study utilized archival data to explore the relationship between the type of PTE, accumulation of PTEs, underlying factors of resilience, and adjustment to college in a national sample of treatment-seeking college students. The data were analyzed using hierarchical regression and multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA). The results of the regression analyses indicated that type and accumulation of PTE were associated with increased adjustment difficulties when controlling for demographic variables. The presence of factors of resilience was predictive of lower adjustment difficulties following PTE exposure. The results of the MANCOVA analyses indicated the type of PTE was predictive of levels of social support. The findings of this study may inform theories of adjustment, higher education policy and clinical practice.