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College and its effects on Homesickness

            The transition from living at home to college is looked upon as a positive event in a student’s life. Along with this new environment comes a loss of the old and more comfortable surroundings. Homesickness is a separation reaction akin to grief, where the individual concentrates on what is missed from the old environment. Homesickness can be defined by a sense of loneliness, depression, emotional distress and a preoccupation with and longing for home (Archer, 1998). This separation reaction can lead to a lack of concentration and ability to perform, along with absent-mindedness and cognitive failures. Therefore, homesickness can ultimately influences a student’s level of success in adapting to his or her new life (Urani, 2003).
             In 1998, psychologists Kazantzis and Flett studied the effects of homesickness due to family cohesion. Family cohesiveness is the emotional bonding or the dependency between family members. In the experiment, they found that the main reason for homesickness and stress during the transition from home to college was greatly due to loss of physical proximity with friends and family. In their study, the psychologists found that homesickness was predicted by low levels of responsibility for the decision to make an educational transition and greater geographical distance from home. Also, dependency on others was a significant indicator of homesickness. Through their research, Kazantzis and Flett found that when given a negative effect of strong family cohesiveness on successful adaptation to a college, it was hypothesized that students with higher levels of family cohesion and previous environmental movement would have greater levels of homesickness.
             Urani, Miller, Johnson, and Petzel explored the relationship between social anxiety and homesickness for first-year college students. In their experiments they would evaluate the effects of social anxiety and social support with indicators of homesickness.