Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
December 6, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Adele Ciccone-Estrela (centre), receives her award from Dr. Cyndi Brannen (Dalhousie U.) and Dr. Patrick O'Neill (Acadia U.)
Adele Ciccone-Estrela (centre), receives her award from Dr. Cyndi Brannen (Dalhousie U.) and Dr. Patrick O'Neill (Acadia U.)

Headlines (Campus Updates)


Laurier psychology student wins Patrick O’Neill Prize for Student Research

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Jun 16/09

Adele Ciccone-Estrela, a PhD candidate in Laurier’s community psychology program, was awarded the 2009 Patrick O’Neill Prize for Student Research at the Canadian Psychological Association’s annual convention in Montreal. 

Ciccone-Estrela’s dissertation is titled “Impacts of Parental Support on the Psychosocial Adjustment of Emerging Adults’ High School to University Transition.” For her conference presentation, she focused on the relationship between perceived social supports (i.e. parental support) and students’ overall psychosocial adjustment during the transition to university, studied in terms of overall satisfaction with social, personal-emotional and academic aspects of university life.

In order to understand the interpersonal nature of students’ transitions from high school to university and the various stressful experiences associated with it, Ciccone-Estrela interviewed first-year Laurier students and their parents.

Interviews with students explored topics such as students’ feelings and experiences prior to university compared to their feelings a few months after starting university, and their parents’ involvement during that time period. Interviews with parents addressed topics such as the role that parents perceived their support played in their child’s ability to manage stresses that accompany the transition, as well as parents’ positions on issues such as post-secondary education, obtaining a university degree and discipline choice.

“There is a lack of Canadian qualitative research that examines the role of different, specific sources of support, such as parents, during this transition,” says Ciccone-Estrela. “Exploring the relationship between parent and child can shed light on how emerging adults perceive and cope with stresses associated with the transition and how they use social support systems, particularly their parents, to manage and adjust to university life.”

The potential of her research, Ciccone-Estrela says, is to better support the well-being of emerging adults during their adjustment to university life. This could include creating an action program that provides students and parents with the necessary skills to successfully manage the transition to university life or helping to improve university campuses and counselling centres.

Ciccone-Estrela is completing her PhD under the supervision of Laurier psychology professor Dr. Richard Walsh-Bowers. For more information about her research, Ciccone-Estrela welcomes emails to


View all Psychology news | View all Faculty of Science news
View all Laurier news