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Nursing professor to explain student stress, adjustment disorder

Laura Rodgers, Linfield College professor of nursing, will discuss adjustment issues for college students in an upcoming faculty lecture, “Stress, Cortisol and Adjustment Disorder Among College Students” Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall at Linfield.

Leaving the familiar environment of home and high school to attend college is a major life change for first-year college students. Yet, going to college can challenge an individual’s personal security, physical comfort and ability to enjoy activities. While all first-year students experience some stress adjusting to college life, some will develop Adjustment Disorder (AD). AD is one of the most common psychiatric diagnoses among adolescents and is often an early stage of a more serious psychiatric disorder and is also associated with suicidal thoughts. Early identification and intervention of students at risk for developing AD can lead to more timely intervention to provide relief of symptoms and possibly prevent further episodes.

Rodgers’ presentation will also include a study examining cortisol and symptoms of psychopathology in Russian and American college students. Stress can be assessed by subjective survey measures and objectively by cortisol levels. These measurements can be used to identify students who may be overwhelmed by stress. Because AD is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, implications and recommendations are provided for faculty and college counseling services to assist first-year college students as they cope with the stress of transitioning to college.

Rodgers, a former Fulbright scholar, has more than 25 years of experience in the nursing field and has taught nursing at the graduate and undergraduate levels in the U.S. and Russia while maintaining an active clinical practice as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She continues to teach and conduct research in the Russian Far East and will be a plenary speaker at an upcoming international psychology conference in Khabarovsk, Russia.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.