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Previous studies have reported that law students and medical students experience significant distress during their first year. We suspect that freshmen undergraduates might experience similar distress in their transition to college. This study examines the impact of the undergraduate experience on freshmen. Data replicate the declines reported in law and medical students’ psychological and physical health. Negative coping tactics and perfectionism predicted poorer physical health and alcohol use at the end of the year. However, optimism and self-esteem predicted better physical and psychological outcomes.

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This is an electronic version of an article published in Journal of American College Health, 56, 15-21. Journal of American College Health is available online at: DOI: 10.3200/JACH.56.1.15-22