WASHINGTON (Circa) -- A recent study from the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin says college roommates are sensitive to their roommates' distress. The study also suggests that roommates underestimate the levels of distress their roommate may be going through.
“Although college is an exciting time, many students feel academic and social pressure, and this can lead to serious distress,” Qi Xu, an NYU doctoral student and the study’s lead author told NYU.edu.
The study used 187 same sex undergraduate roommate pairs as their subjects. The pairs were Asian, Black, Hispanic, White and biracial.
“College students can detect certain levels of distress in their roommates and spot changes over the course of a semester, but they nonetheless underestimate the absolute level of distress,” Patrick Shrout, a professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and the study’s senior author told NYU.edu.
The students who participated in the study were examined specifically during two times in the academic year - February and April.
The differences in the times the students were studied helped researchers understand which students were more or less distressed. Their actual levels of distress were compared to rankings from their roommates about their state of mind.
“More universal training on how to identify and respond to the distress of peers might have the benefit of encouraging conversations among roommates about what actions each might take if he or she notices another experiencing extreme distress,” Xu and Shrout wrote in their study.
Circa's It's Complicated discussed how living with roommates affects your ability to date with two relationship experts. DJ 5'9'' is a radio host for Radio One in Washington, D.C. Ashley Clayborne works in digital media for Verizon.