The incidence rate of anxiety and other psychological disorders in college students has increased in recent years. The stereotyped notions that honors students are especially susceptible to mental health concerns has not, however, been widely examined. To explore how mental health concerns are manifest within an honors community, an anonymous survey of 144 first year students transitioning to an intensive honors program was completed. The survey included a modified version of the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms (CCAPS-34; University of Michigan, 2001) to measure dimensions of college student psychological adjustment, and a free-response prompt asking students to describe their personal experience of psychological well-being during their transition to college. Student reports were coded for both descriptions of mental health and the role of the honors experience in psychological adjustment. The results did reveal a small but significant number of students in distress which was confirmed by scores on the CCAPS. The qualitative data, however, revealed that while some students saw the honors program contributing to stress, just as many students reported that honors helped smooth their transition. The results are elaborated to help identify what role honors programs can play as a positive force for student mental health.
Our poster presents the results of a survey distributed to first year honors students regarding their psychological adjustment to university life. Contrary to stereotyped notions about honors student distress, data analysis confirms a minority of students are distressed and that honors can be both a source of stress and support.