Year of Publication

2017

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)

Department

Psychology

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Lori Lange

Second Advisor

Dr. Dawn Witherspoon

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. Daniel Moon

Abstract

This study investigates social connectedness and social support in a military and civilian college population, and their associations with psychological, physical and stress-related health. There were 301 total participants, 51 of which were military personnel. The participant’s ages ranged from 18-59 (M = 23.48, SD = 7.24), with majority of the participants being female (71.8%), Caucasian (66.1%) and in a relationship (50.8%). The study was administered online via SONA. The following measures were administered in this study: the Social Connectedness Scale, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Physical Health Questionnaire, MOS Short Form Survey Instrument, UCLA Loneliness Scale, the Depression Patient Health Questionnaire, Hopkins Symptom Checklist Anxiety Scale, and the PTSD Checklist- Civilian Version. Veteran students indicated several issues while transitioning to higher education, as well as, several factors that they feel make them unique from their peers. Social connectedness significantly predicted all measures of health, especially PTSD (β = -.43, p < .001), depression (β = -.47, p < .001) and general health (β = -.30, p < .001), with higher rates of social connectedness denoting less symptoms. The social support’s association with health via the main effect model was supported by the results, whereas, the buffering hypothesis model was not supported. Social support was most predictive of anxiety (β = -.28, p < .001), PTSD (β = -.37, p < .001) and general health (β = .36, p < .001). Military status was not associated with social connectedness, rendering the serial multiple mediation model untestable. This study provides empirical evidence that social connectedness is a powerful and pervasive human need, with important health implications.

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