Going into the third week of college, I am sure we can all say we miss our families, friends, homes, beds, cars, and whatever else fulfilled the comforts of our “normal” lives. Myself, missing home a little, recently decided to research why we miss the things we spend so much time with after we begin to spend a great deal of time a part, curious to see if there was any scientific reasoning behind this.
The best answer I kept coming across had to do with symptoms of possible separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can be defined as an extreme distress of physical or emotional detachment from close figures or environments, such as loved ones or home. Some cases are more extreme than others though, and some only develop symptoms rather than the disease in its entirety. The research done by Cade Hulbert in this link, suggests that having symptoms of separation anxiety is not uncommon in first year college students, but only found a small percentage of college students who experience the symptoms of separation anxiety.
Looking at this study you will find that college students from Boise State University, ages 18-60, participated in a survey to determine whether parent involvement during their child’s college experience had any correlation between the student’s separation anxiety while attending college. The survey asked questions regarding how overprotective the parents are, if being away from parents at college gives the student anxiety, and other questions concerning parenting style.
At the end of the research, Hulbert came to the conclusion that certain parenting styles may increase the likelihood of college students developing separation anxiety. In fact, it is seen that students with a more overprotective parenting style are more susceptible to anxiety than students who have a less overprotective parenting style. Symptoms of anxiety were also found more commonly in female students than male students due to parents being more susceptible to intrusiveness with daughters rather than sons. Also, data showed how freshman who did not feel any separation anxiety as a freshman, are more less likely to develop anxiety as a senior or in later years. (Hulbert 2010)
I think this research was good but could have been better in a few ways. First, there was a pretty wide range of ages included in this research. Personally, any age over 23 is irrelevant to the general title of a young adult/college student for this study in particular. Also, although the results of this study were clear, the percent value system in the research write up was hard to follow, hence why I did not include percentages in this blog. The study could have also, surveyed whether or not the student felt like their parent was putting pressure on them, whether the student had any feelings of anxiety prior to college, or if their parents were over protective when they were a child or not. Lastly, the study could have not only surveyed the students but the parents as well, to try and get a greater sense of where the anxiety is truly coming from. All these, in my opinion, could have lead to even more valid reasonings behind this research.
Overall, I think as a first year student, feelings of missing home and loved ones doesn’t mean you are diagnosed with separation anxiety. It just makes you realize how much those things meant to you now that you are without them. Missing these things is going to come natural because of our human nature, no matter the parenting style. The feeling of home is something everyone vales dearly and adapting to a new lifestyle and environment can take time. But what this study made me realize is, that for those who it may concern, it may not be the student who has the symptoms of separation anxiety, but the parents.