Adaptability, social support, and psychological wellbeing among university students: A 1-year follow-up study

Andrew J. Holliman, Daniel Waldeck, David M. Holliman

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The transition to university is a time of great change. A recent literature has shown that adaptability (a personal resource) and social support (a conditional, situational resource) are associated with psychological wellbeing and distress among university students. However, the precise nature of these relations are unclear and there is a paucity of work investigating whether adaptability and social support are predictive of psychological wellbeing and distress over longer periods of time. In the present study, first-year university students (N = 411), were surveyed for their adaptability, social support, and psychological distress, and were then re-assessed for their psychological wellbeing and distress 1 year later. A series of moderated regression analyses, revealed that adaptability and social support were independent predictors of psychological distress concurrently, and psychological wellbeing 1 year later. Adaptability, but not social support, was also found to predict psychological distress 1 year later. No interaction effects were observed. The findings demonstrate the importance of adaptability (and social support to a lesser extent) in predicting psychological wellbeing and distress among university students both at course commencement, but also over the course of their studies 1 year later.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1036067
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Education
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • adaptability
  • distress
  • follow-up study
  • psychological wellbeing
  • social support
  • university

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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