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Running head: HOMESICKNESS LEVELS

A Correlational Study: The relationship between homesickness levels among first and second
year graduate students
Talia Bartolotta, Lauren Hawkins, Mallory Viveros, and Michelle Wilson
Touro University Nevada

HOMESICKNESS LEVELS

2
Results

Information on Participants and Data Collection


To recruit participants, the first year and second year students were contacted during an
occupational therapy research course. Each group of students was approached separately by a
designated member of the research team and was asked to complete both the Homesickness
Questionnaire and the demographic survey. The explanation, distribution, and completion of the
questionnaire took approximately 15 minutes. Seventy participants total were asked to fill out
the survey, regardless of their previous residential location. No students refused to participate.
Once the survey was completed, the research team discarded the questionnaires and surveys of
those who lived within 50 miles of Touro University Nevada prior to starting the occupational
therapy graduate program. This process eliminated the involvement of 12 students, leaving 58
participants. No participants dropped out of the study.
The 58 participants consisted of 15 males and 42 females. The first year cohort had 21
females and 6 males, while the second year cohort had 22 females and 9 males. Nine of the first
year participants and 15 of the second year participants live with their significant other.
Data analysis. The scale asked 28 questions relating to levels of homesickness.
Participants answered the questions with a four point Likert-scale. When scoring the
Homesickness Questionnaire, the higher the score, the greater the amount of homesickness. The
highest possible score was 112. Table 1 shows each participants age, gender, and summed score
associated with the Homesickness Questionnaire. Table 2 shows the average of both the first and
second year participants, divided accordingly.
The levels linked with the questionnaire included You are not homesick (28-48 points),
You are somewhat homesick (49-69 points), You are homesick (70-90 points), and You are
extremely homesick (91-112 points). Both groups fell under the second category You are

HOMESICKNESS LEVELS

somewhat homesick. Table 3 shows the average score of the Homesickness Questionnaire for
both the first and second year participants.
Discussion
The first year occupational therapy graduate students at Touro University Nevada
experienced slightly higher level of homesickness than the second year students, supporting the
hypothesis. Many people have experienced homesickness upon leaving home to pursue further
education, new jobs, or a new place of residence. This study was important because it is
common for students relocating to a new area to experience feelings of loneliness, unhappiness,
and uncertainty associated with homesickness. Students understanding this and preparing
themselves beforehand can better ensure an optimal transition, as well as engagement and
success in their graduate program.
Though the hypothesis was supported by the results, the variances between the averages
of the groups was minimal. It was surprising to find that the average level of homesickness
between the first and second year students was so similar. The researchers attribute this minimal
difference due to the timing of the distribution of the survey in regards to program layout and
completion. The first year students were in the process of making new friends and enjoying the
fresh start to a new program. In opposition, the second year students have completed all but one
semester of coursework and are about to return home for their first level II fieldwork. Because
of this anticipation about finishing the program and returning home, the level of homesickness
may have been increased for the second year students, therefore resulting in similar levels of
homesickness.

HOMESICKNESS LEVELS

Limitations
The limitations for this study include a small sample size, lack of diversity among participants,
and self-reported data. Although the study included both second year and first year students, the
sample size still only included fifty-eight participants. Twelve participants questionnaires were
not included in the data because they resided too close to Touro University Nevada before
beginning the graduate program, which threatened the internal validity of the study. The gender
and age of the participants are also a limitation because most of the participants are female and in
their mid-twenties. This decreases the studies ability to be fully representative of the entire
occupational therapy graduate population. Self-reported data is considered a limitation because
participants often do not answer honestly. Lastly, the Hawthorne Effect may have affected our
scores due to the participants knowledge of our study prior to taking our questionnaire affecting
the external validity of the study.
Recommendations for Future Research
Future research can be more successful when incorporating or adjusting a number of
factors. Increasing the sample size, equalizing the gender distribution and also increasing the
variation of ages, could capture a better representation of the entire occupational therapy
graduate population. Creating a better representation of the population can also be done by
including students from multiple occupational therapy programs from across the country.
Utilizing students from various graduate programs, in addition to occupational therapy, can
create more precise generalizations regarding levels of homesickness among graduate students.
This information can be translated to undergraduate programs as well. Refinement of the
questions used or application of another homesickness questionnaire may provide more accurate

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data. Lastly, by distributing the HQ multiple times to the participants during the course of a
specified time frame, it will provide more data to analyze.

References

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Archer, J., Ireland, J., Amos, S. L., Broad, H., & Currid, L. (1998). Derivation of
homesickness scale. British Journal of Psychology, 89(2), 205-221.
Beck, R., Taylor, C., & Robbins, M. (2003). Missing home: Sociotropy and autonomy and their
relationship to psychological distress and homesickness in college freshmen. Anxiety,
Stress, & Coping, 16(2), 155-166. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2003.10382970
Fisher, S., & Hood, B. (1987). The stress of the transition to university: A longitudinal study of
psychological disturbance, absent-mindedness and vulnerability to homesickness. British
Journal of Psychology, 78(4), 425-441. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1987.tb02260.x
Refreshed Perspectives. (2014). Homesickness questionnaire Am I homesick? Retrieved from
www.refreshedperspectives.com/homesickness-questionnaire-homesick/
Thurber, C. A., & Walton, E. A. (2012). Homesickness and Adjustment in University Students.
Journal of American College Health, 60(5), 415-419. doi:
10.1080/07448481.2012.673520
Tognoli, J. (2003). Leaving Home. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 18(1), 35-48.doi:
10.1300/J035v18n01_04

Table 1

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Summed Level of Homesickness by Age and Gender

Age (years)
22
22
22
22
22
22
23
23
23
23
23
23
24
24
24
25
25
25
25
26
26
26
26
32
39
42
47

Table 2

Homesickness by Age
First Years
Gender
Average Score
Age (years)
M
46
23
F
67
23
F
58
24
F
49
24
F
57
24
F
72
24
F
59
24
F
57
24
F
55
24
F
67
25
F
43
25
F
66
25
M
65
25
F
46
25
F
53
26
F
46
26
M
52
26
F
64
26
F
52
27
F
58
27
F
64
27
M
56
28
F
67
28
M
58
29
F
56
29
M
52
29
F
53
30
30
31
32
44

Second Years
Gender
Average Score
F
44
F
61
F
50
M
54
F
75
M
50
F
62
M
57
F
45
F
64
F
48
F
63
F
53
F
49
F
67
F
53
M
50
F
47
F
46
M
52
F
66
F
58
M
55
F
56
M
58
F
55
M
46
F
75
M
60
F
42
F
48

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Average Age of Participants

Average Age of Participants


30

26.15

26.9

OT 16

OT 15

25
20

Age (in years)

15
10
5
0

Year in Graduate Program

Table 3
Average Level of Homesickness

Average Level of Homesickness


70
60

56.96

55.13

OT 16

OT 15

50
40

HQ Score

30
20
10
0

Year in Graduate Program