VISTAS Counseling College Students

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Big Five Personality and Depressive Symptoms: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective on Students’ Positive Relationships With Others

Kenneth Leow, Myunghee Lee, and Martin F. Lynch


This study examines the contribution of social support, self-regulation, and Big Five personality traits in explaining the variance in depressive symptoms among college students based on self-determination theory (SDT). Measures were completed by 235 college students. Results indicated autonomous self-regulation significantly predicted lower levels of depressive symptoms, while controlled self-regulation significantly predicted higher levels of depressive symptoms among the participating students. The informants higher in neuroticism reported significantly more depressive symptoms. However, the strongest predictor of the students’ depressive symptoms was the quality of their relationships with others.

Keywords: depression, autonomous self-regulation, social support, college students

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