The Relationship Between Students Who Are In-state or Out-of-state and Their Happiness
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
SURETTE, B. R. (2000). The Relationship Between Students Who Are In-state or Out-of-state and Their Happiness. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 3. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved April 25, 2017 .

The Relationship Between Students Who Are In-state or Out-of-state and Their Happiness
BROOKE R. SURETTE
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: MUKUL BHALLA (bhalla@loyno.edu)
ABSTRACT
Happiness was studied in both in-state and out-of-state freshmen students. Thirty-two students, consisting of 16 in-state and 16 out-of-state, were surveyed. Conclusions were made based on the answers given in the questionnaire. The belief of the researchers was that in-state students would be happier than out-of-state students. Results indicated that there is not a significant difference between the two groups. The only variable with a noticeable difference was people who were from in-state found it easier to make friends on campus than the people who were from out-of-state. However, it was found that in-state students are as happy as out-of-state students.

INTRODUCTION
Every year at colleges and universities across the country and throughout hundreds of students enroll as first-semester freshmen. Some students live locally and others have to come across the country. College life can be a big change for the majority of people, but moving to new city for college is an even bigger task. Having to get adjusted to new people, different style of living, classes, professors and being on their own can make a person unhappy and doubt their real desires to pursuing a higher education. The students who have come from in state do not have as big of an adjustment to make. Unfortunately, not every student can be as lucky to have family in state. There are factors to look at when a student comes from out of town that can help them be happier in their transition to college. Griswold and Miles (1995) help give us a better understanding of being happy and how people will try and attain happiness. In their book they quote St. Augustine as saying that everyone, whatever his condition, desires to be happy. There is no one who does not desire this, and each one desires it with such earnestness that it is preferred to all other things. Knowing this there has to be more than one way to make an individual happy, in this case a first-semester freshmen. In knowing a freshmenís desires and wants beyond their bond with their family will help us to better attain an idea of how to make their first year of college as happy as possible. It will also give us a better indication of how to help them get better adjusted their first year. There are a lot of aspects to happiness that can be looked at. Jourard (1958) feels that happiness is based on a healthy personality. People will not respond the same to situations or questions. One personís outlook will not be the same as another. The best way to describe this is, an individual displays healthy personality when he is able to gratify his needs through behavior that conforms to both the norms of his society and the requirements of his conscience. In another study Worchel and Goethals (1989) write that adjustment consists of learning about and understanding our social and physical environment and ourselves. The specific demands faced by each individual are different but we all face the necessity to adjust to the world. Worchel and Goethals study found that the participantís happiness depended on their ability to form close caring interpersonal relationships, having a feeling of belongingness and having the desire to achieve. If becoming adjusted quickly and developing close relationships will help freshmen their first semester then researchers and administrators need to make this possible. In a study by Mooney, Sherman and Lo Presto (1991) participants had to complete a questionnaire to determine several factors of their first year in college. One of the factors the questionnaire assessed was the geographical distance from home (actual and perceived) as predictors of college adjustment. This study did not conclude what had originally been thought. There was no association between actual distance and the various dimensions of college adjustment. The participants gave a variety of answers and none supported the hypothesis. Even though this study did not follow through with what the researchers thought, we still feel that the hypothesis was correct. There are several reasons why we feel that the hypothesis is correct through our own experiences and talking with undergraduates on campus. Other studies seem to conform to what we hope to find in our study. In a study done by Rambo and Chroniak (1999) they found that freshmen with low adaptive skills had higher stress and freshmen with higher adaptive skills had lower stress. The results of this study show that there are and can be different factors that will affect a freshmanís happiness. Adjustment, as stated earlier, has a big affect on oneís ability to be happy. The study that we used that had similar findings to what we thought our research would have is a study conducted Hanson, Ouimet, and Williams (1996). The results of this experiment are similar in what we expected to find in that the experimenters gave a questionnaire to freshmen students asking them questions about their happiness at their university. Students who were from in-state, able to cope with adjustment and who had enough self control to be disciplined showed signs of being happier than the freshmen that did not have these characteristics. The current study was conducted to see if going to an in state school could make a difference in the happiness of first-semester freshmen. We hypothesized that in state or local students would be happier their first-semester than out of state first semester students because they would have less of an adjustment to make and still keep some or all of their close relationships. Our independent variable was the living arrangement of freshmen students with two levels, in state and out-of-state and our dependent variable was happiness. To support our hypothesis we asked the participants a variety of questions pertaining to happiness about different aspects of their first semester at Loyola University New Orleans. The questions we asked their opinions of certain aspects of college life. For example, do they have someone here they are close to? For a full list of questions see a copy of the questionnaire.


METHOD
Participants A total of 32 students from Loyola University New Orleans participated. The 32 students consisted of 16 male students and 16 female students. All participants were above the age of 18 years and consisted of Freshmen Psychology majors. Convenience sampling was used and participants volunteered to be in this study, some receiving extra credit.

MaterialsThe participants used either a pen or a pencil to fill the paper work out. The questionnaire contained two copies of the same consent form and eighteen questions that we used to measure our hypothesis. An example of a question asked was: How satisfied are you with socializing with students before and after class? The measure that we used to base our questionnaire was called Quality of Student Life Survey provided by the Counseling Department from the University of Texas. Although we used this survey to help us get an idea of how to ask our questions we did not use all the questions that were on the survey. The survey we used consisted of 154 questions, which was too many for our study. The questionnaire consisted of 18 questions. The researchers chose the questions by reading through the survey and picking the ones that were appropriate for our operational definition of happiness. For a list of the questions see Appendix A, to see an example of the consent form see Appendix B.

Design and Procedure This was a quasi-experiment with two levels of the independent variable. The participants were either classified as in state or out of state freshmen. The dependent variable was happiness. Happiness was defined as someone being well-adjusted, socializing with friend, having friends, experiencing a social life, getting along with roommates, and having a hobby or social interests. These variables were measured by the questionnaire in which the questions were scored. The average of the questions was found and conclusions were made based on whether the student was from in state or out of state. Happiness was operationally defined as being able to adjust their first semester to college life, having close friends and someone they can trust, not feeling stressed, feeling motivated in their academics and ability to get the proper nutrition and sleep. The 18 questions that were used for the questionnaire were all based on the operational definition of happiness. When the participants entered the room they were asked to choose a desk of their choice. Once everyone was seated the experimenters asked the participants to keep their desk clear, but to take out a writing utensil of their choice. The experimenters passed out the questionnaire to the participants and explained to them what the two copies of the informed consent was for. Once everyone had received the packet of forms, two consent forms and questionnaire, they were asked to begin. The experimenters gave the participants 15 minutes to take the survey. Once 15 minutes had elapsed the experimenters picked up all of the questionnaires. Once all were picked up the experimenters debriefed the participants. They were told that this study was designed to see if there was a direct correlation between being from Louisiana and their happiness their first semester at Loyola University New Orleans. The experimenters asked if there were any questions, thanked the participants and then they were released.


RESULTS
Results Data were analyzed by an independent group t-test to determine if there was a difference between in-state students and out-of-state students regarding their happiness (see table 1). Contrary to the original hypothesis it was found that there was no significant difference in out-of-state students and in-state students and their happiness. The means of the two groups were very similar and showed that in-state students are just as happy or unhappy as out-of-state students are. The only variable that had a significant difference was students in-state found it easier to make friends on campus. All other variables have similar results and vary equally in the population (see table 1).Table 1The results of in-state students and out-of-state students and their happiness

In-state Out-of-stateVariable Std Std t-Val P-val Adjusting 1.2 1.3 .28 .91Romantically Involved 1.5 1.8 .93 .09Socializing .83 .97 .98 .32Friends on campus .68 1.2 1.26 .01 Friends off campus 1.2 1.4 -.27 .60Activities on campus 1.0 1.5 .82 .27Partying/friends 1.5 .91 -.57 .58Effective Time 1.0 1.2 -1.75 .06Personal Contacts .79 1.0 1.16 .52Social on campus 1.2 1.2 .98 .32Time/Interests 1.3 1.4 .82 .27Roommates 1.6 1.5 -.57 .58Happiness 1.1 1.4 1.82 .33


DISCUSSION
Discussion The data collected did not support the original hypothesis. Results showed that in-state students are as likely to be happy as out-of-state students are their first semester in college. Being or becoming romantically involved was the only variable that had a significant difference. This supports a past study done when freshmen college students were given a survey by researchers Mooney, Sherman, and Lo Presto (1991) to test the distance from home and their adjustment to college. There was no association between actual distance and the various dimensions of college adjustments. There was a difference in this study as compared to past research because in past studies in-state students were more likely to adjust better and be happier. Hanson, Ouimet, and Williams (1996) did one such study. Their data showed that in-state students were far more likely to be happier their first semester in college than out-of-state students. One factor affecting the study was the number of participants. Results could have been significantly different with larger groups. Also, another factor that was not noticed was in-state students who lived with their parents. Living with their parents could have affected the results to the study. If we had asked the age of the students or their sex then we would have been further able to analyze our data. Since there was no significant difference in the two groups, going to an in-state school is not as beneficial as thought. The only result that stood out was students who were from in-state were happier than students out-of-state being in a romantic relationship. Students in-state had a mean of 6.44 while students out-of-state only had a mean of 3.25. The higher the rating of he question the more happy the student is (see appendix p1 for an example of the rating scale). To improve this study researchers could survey males and females separately. It might be found that females adjust better than males or vice versa. Another improvement would be a more in depth questionnaire, allowing the researchers to get more specific results. The variables in the study could have been better defined. To better analyze the data the researchers could have used three levels. Local, in-state three hours away or more, and then out-of-state. Being in-state and living three to four hours away isnít the same as being local. There were not any theoretical and practical implications because the hypothesis was rejected. The researchers did not find conclusive data and therefore had to reject the hypothesis. Hopefully this study can influence other researchers to take this idea and study it more in depth with more specific variables.


REFERENCES
References Griswold, C & Miles, M.R. (1995). In Pursuit of Happiness. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. Jourard, S.M. (1958). Personal Adjustment. New York: The Macmillian Company. Mooney, S.P., Sherman M.F., & Lo Presto, C.T. (1991). Academic locus of control, self-esteem, and perceived distance from home as predictors of college adjustment. Journal of Counseling and Development, 69, 445-448. Mruk, C. (1995). Self-esteem Research, Theory, and Practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Quality of Student Survey Results (http://ampvi.utep.edu/bestpract/austin.htm). Rambo, K. & Chroniak, M. (1999). Coping and Adjustment in the freshmen year transition. Humanities and Social Sciences,59. Worchel, S. & Goethals, G.R. (1989). Adjustment Pathways to Personal Growth. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.


QUESTIONNAIRE
1. What year are you in school?2. Are you from Louisiana?3. Does your immediate family live in Louisiana?

Overall, how satisfied are you with...

4. Adjusting to college life?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

5. Becoming romantically involved?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

6. Socializing with students before and after class?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

7. Gathering informally with friends on campus?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

8. Gathering with friends off campus?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

9. Participating in recreational sports or activities on campus?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

10. Partying with peers?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

11. Ability to use your time effectively?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

12. Making personal contacts with students?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

13. Experiencing a social life on campus?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

14. Time spent on social interest and activities out of class?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

15. Getting along with my roommates?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

16. My overall happiness?

Terrible Unhappy Dissatisfied Mixed Satisfied Happy 1 2 3 4 5 6

Submitted 12/6/00 10:30:49 AM
Last Edited 12/6/00 11:41:10 AM
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