The importance of achievement, intimacy, autonomy, and life events among first year college students

Azara L. Santiago-Rivera, Tracy Gard, Bianca Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to extend the research on the model of Centrality (Bernstein, 1987) by exploring which central issues are given the highest importance based on the developmental transitions and life experiences of traditional college students. As part of a validation study, 48 first-year college youth were interviewed to assess the importance of ten core issues, and to identify recent life events considered stressful. They were also given the Scale of Central Issues(SOCI) to complete. Results indicated that the three most important issues were Intimacy, Achievement, and Autonomy. Approval, Structure and Affiliation were considered moderately important whereas Change, Adventure and Control were rated as moderately unimportant. Isolation was rated as least important. The importance of these core issues was consistent over two time periods. A significant number of participants reported stressful situations involving intimate relationships, moving away from home for the first time and concerns about academic achievement. The central issues identified as most important by the SOCI were also consistent with those reported as important during the interview. Implications for the use of the model of Centrality in counseling and psychotherapy are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-73
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of College Student Psychotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 14 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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