The transition from high school to college is one of the hardest steps in a teenager's life. Moving away to college presents many challenges that teens haven't had to face before. For the first time, the high school graduate is without the supervision of parents or caregivers, has been stripped of a familiar social network and is most likely many miles away from home. .
Matriculating college students are eager to explore a new lifestyle and the opportunities to set their own limits without an overseeing parental eye. But many students lack the discipline in their schedules and feel as though they are losing control of their lives. Along with the challenge of learning to regulate their new lifestyle, college freshmen face the daunting and stressful task of replacing the friendships that they left behind. The difficulty of building a social support network is compounded by the unfamiliar college environment and the lack of security that the teenager was used to having at home. It's no wonder that many college freshmen experience being homesick. .
The experience of homesickness in college students has been well-documented, and several prevailing explanations of the phenomenon have arisen. Previous research has identified several characteristics that tend to predict or correlate with homesickness, such as social anxiety (Urani, Miller, Johnson, & Petzel, 2003), dependency (Brewin, Furnham, & Howes, 1989), and sociotropy (Beck, Taylor, & Robbins, 2003). Brewin et al. (1989) go on further to outline four theories to explain homesickness: expectancy, attachment, social support, and social affiliation. In a study that looked at social anxiety and social support, Urani et al. (2003) found that social anxiety and homesickness were positively correlated at the beginning of the semester, but as the semester went on homesickness decreased, while social anxiety remained constant throughout the semester.