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Resilience in Undergraduate Social Work Students: Social Support and Adjustment to Academic Stress

by Scott E Wilks, Christina A Spivey
Social Work Education: The International Journal ()
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The purpose of this exploratory study was to analyze the relationship between academic stress and resilience in American, undergraduate social work students (N = 145), and to identify whether social support functioned as a protective factor amid this relationship. Testing social support within models of mediation and moderation served this purpose. Surveys were submitted to three social work programs and solicited empirical data on academic stress; social support and two subsystems, family and friend support; and perceived resilience. The sample reported moderate levels of academic stress, social support, and resilience. Academic stress significantly (p < 0.05), negatively influenced social support and resilience. Social support systems exerted significant, positive influence with each other and with resilience. No social supports mediated the negative stress effect on resilience. Friend support moderated the academic stress–resilience relationship. Implications for social work educators and field agency practitioners regarding enhancement of supportive peer relationships among undergraduate students are discussed.

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