Paper Title
The Role of Social Identity and Social Support in Overcoming Academic Stress – First Year Students’ Experience

The main goal of this research was to determine the role of social support and social identity in overcoming academic stress, based on the experiences of first year university students. The research explores variables, such as first year students’ academic stress levels, their stressors, effective and ineffective coping strategies, role of social identity and social support, influence of stress on academic motivation and achievement. The research was conducted among first year students of the three largest Georgian universities (Tbilisi State University, Ilia State University and Georgian Technical University). Both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied, with 252 survey respondents (150 girls, 100 boys) aged between 17 to 24 and 13 focus group participants (10 girls, 3 boys) aged between 18 to 20 years. The results show, that academic stress level among freshmen students is higher than average. The main reason of said stress is new living and social conditions, though preparing and publicly presenting their work is the biggest stressor in an academic setting. Among coping strategies, students use positive reinterpretation and growth and planning most often. Analysis show, that major predictor of academic success is low level of stress, with academic motivation and social support also being the key factors. Keywords- Stress, Social Support, Social Identity, Motivation, Academic Success.