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Relationships as an Important Factor in College Life

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This paper explores college students and relationships. During emerging adulthood relationships are important because previous research has shown that positive close relationships with peers correlate to how well they adapt in college, academic achievement, retention rates, and their well-being among other college students (Parade, Leekers, & E.M., 2009). Relationships are an important topic to study because they have been consistently associated with positive physical and mental health (Braithwaite, Delevi, & Fincham, 2010). This paper will explore the emotional, physical, cognitive, and social aspects of development during emerging adulthood.


Emotions come from a natural state of mind due to circumstances occurring. Emotional development also plays a huge part in a persons well-being. College brings on a whirlwind of emotions and new relationships for people to delve into. Drouin, M., & Landgraff, C. in 2012 did a study to see how texting and sexting practices are related to attachment in college students who are in committed relationships. They surveyed 744 college students who claimed to be in committed relationships and had them answer a series of questions pertaining to their texting and sexting practices and their attachment styles to their partners. One of the results that they got was that text messaging was more common in those who had a secure attachment while sexting was more common in those who had an insecure attachment. Having anxious attachment predicted in sending only sexting messages while attachment avoidance people sent both. Avoidant men were more likely than avoidant women to send sex messages and picture messages to their partners though (Drouin, M., & Landgraff, C., 2012). This study shows what type of attachment styles were found in committed college students and this can link to college students self-esteem. Relationships are hard especially in college, that is why secure attachments are important to maintain. Fortunately, on-campus resources like college success workshops, like Understanding Rape Culture, that are facilitated by peer mentors are open to all SJSU students. It takes place in room SSC 603 and its to help you recognize contributing factors to rape culture and tools on how to dismantle it. This would help you with insecure attachments and help with your overall emotional health. In an additional study done by Nelson, M. C., Story, M., Larson, N. I., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Lytle, L. A. in 2012 emerging adulthood is described as a unique stage in life and show evidence of how certain things, like relationships, can affect a persons health and their physical activity. Their study is based on 18-29-year-olds from national surveys and longitudinal studies. One result was that the transition to emerging adulthood has increased risk of weight gain and that research suggests that closer relationships with parents and siblings evolve during youth transition into college and as a youth becomes more independent it might have an influence of their health behavior patterns. Also as they become more independent their physical activity declines as work goes on (Nelson, M. C., Story, M., Larson, N. I., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Lytle, L. A., 2012). In order to live a healthy life emotionally and physically, college students must realize the effects relationships have on them in college and throughout their lives. One way SJSU can help you is by going to a CAPS Life Skills Workshop, “Body Image”, where they talk about your self-esteem and how it makes you perceive yourself. This usually takes place in room SWC 375 and helps college students with their emotional well being.


Physical development is a key part of growing up. Especially in college students, its something you should keep an eye on and it’s important for the health of young adults. However, relationships can sometimes adversely affect your physically well being. In a study done by Braithwaite, S. R., Delevi, R., & Fincham, F. D. (2010) they wanted to find out if college students in committed relationships experienced greater well-being than single students. They took a sample of 1621 college students and came up with the conclusion that committed relationships experienced fewer health problems and were less likely to become overweight. Another thing they found was that being in a committed relationship decreased your problematic outcomes largely because of the reduced number of sexual partners (Braithwaite, S. R., Delevi, R., & Fincham, F. D., 2010). According to an additional study (Lacaille, L. J., Dauner, K. N., Krambeer, R. J., & Pedersen, J., 2011) there is factual evidence that your eating and physical activity level were hard to stay healthy due to social life and relationships. Lacaille, L. J., Dauner, K. N., Krambeer, R. J., & Pedersen, J. did a study to find out what factors college students perceived as contributing to their healthy or unhealthy patterns, physical activity, and weight change. They also found out that there were gender differences in how it impacted behavior because some men had a desire to gain weight which would make them engage in different eating habits than women. However, on-campus resources are available to help students in need. Group fitness classes are offered year-round in the Spartan Gym usually in one of the studios. Like a boot camp workout is offered in Studio A, which is an intense total body workout to help with your physical health and get in shape. There is also the new Spartan Recreation and Aquatic Center that has a fully equipped gym, aerobics room, basketball courts, swimming pool, and a rock climbing wall. Its the new building located right next to the dorms and event center and it could help improve your overall health by encouraging you to do physical activity and help with your health.

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Cognitive development is a critical domain of development for emerging adults in college. This is the time where they think, learn, and understand at a whole new level than they did before. This is where they form new identities, beliefs, attitudes and build new ideas while gaining knowledge. College is a world of cognitive development. In a study by Marder, S. L. (2009) they were trying to find the correlations between friendship, college adjustment, and self-efficacy for college students to increase the retention rates of college students. They sent surveys to first-year students in a psychology class of two colleges, a big one with 14,000 enrolled and a small one with 2000 enrolled. They found that college students self-efficacy had no significant relationship to how their friendship groups were composed. They also found that participants who thought of friendships as important also had positive associations on how they rated their friends influence on self-confidence and college adjustment. Many resources on campus are available to help you, like College Success Workshops. Specifically, “Finding your Niche @ SJSU”, this workshop helps you get involved in campus and find friends. It provides you with insight on all the organizations on campus and how to get involved in them. This workshop takes place at SSC 603 and is good for helping college students with their identity formation. Another study by Field, C. J., Kimuna, S. R., & Straus, M. A. (2013) focused on examining the attitude towards interracial couples on campus. They sampled 1173 college students and found that black students disapproved of interracial couples more than white students and that white/asian couples were more accepted than white/black couples. There was also no significant difference between male and female attitude on interracial couples, but white students did feel that their parents disapproved most of black/white interracial dating. Students thinking a certain way towards specific relationships can change the way other students think about their own relationships. It is also showing certain beliefs and attitudes college students have towards romantic relationships in college. Also on campus resources like the Student Wellness Center offers counseling which can help you with your mental health and where you can seek guidance.


Social development is a critical growth component for any college student. Social interaction is important for young adults to learn from and live a healthy and positive life. One study (Wayt, L. K., 2012) tried to find the connection between students relationships and their choice to stay at a post-secondary institution. A random sample of 300 college students enrolled in their second full year at this mid-Plains university was asked to complete the survey. They found out that students who stayed through college have positive relational influences and more positive college experience. Students are also positively influenced by their school peers and faculty. They also found out that students were more socially associated like friends and family had a greater influence than those that were only academically associated. College students relationships which are more closely tied to his social life had a stronger impact on their decisions to pursue farther in college (Wayt, L. K., 2012). Another study (Parade, S. H., Leerkes, E. M., & Blankson, A. N., 2009) studied the process of how attachment to parents can influence students satisfaction and ease going in forming friendships in college. They sampled 385 college freshman and found that secure attachment to parents was positively associated with ease in forming friendships. They also found that the indirect effects of parent attachment security through social anxiety were significant for minority students. SJSU has opportunities to help you with on-campus resources. CAPS Life Skills Workshop, “Healthy Relationships”, where they talk about relationships you have and how to strengthen them. This usually takes place in room SWC 375 and helps college students with their social interaction. Another way is by going to a College Success Workshop, “Strengths Workshop Series: Interpersonal Domain”, which talks to you about how to use your strengths in interpersonal situations and practice integrating your strengths into your personal relationships and teamwork. This helps college students with working on their social relationships.

Emotional, physical, cognitive, and social are all critical domains for college students. These areas of development continue throughout an individuals life. Stable relationships in college bring mostly good outcomes, but sometimes relationships can also cause an adverse effect. Having secure attachment relationships brings positive association with how well a college student is doing. Physical health also can be altered by how your relationship is going which effects your behavior patterns. However, there are many on-campus resources that can help students become better like the College Success Workshops and Student Wellness Center. I believe that relationships are an important factor in college life and can really affect the way your life moves forward.

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Relationships as an Important Factor in College Life. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Relationships as an Important Factor in College Life.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
Relationships as an Important Factor in College Life. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Relationships as an Important Factor in College Life [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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