Date of Completion


Embargo Period



newcomer adjustment, psychological capital, PsyCap, proactive behaviors

Major Advisor

Alexandra A. Bell, PhD

Associate Advisor

Marijke T. Kehrhahn, PhD

Associate Advisor

Robin S. Grenier, PhD

Associate Advisor

Sue Saunders, PhD

Field of Study

Adult Learning


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Every year recent college graduates enter the workforce and experience newcomer adjustment, the process of learning the tasks of a new job and becoming integrated into an organization during the first year of employment. Some new professionals effectively cope with the changes they experience, while others are less successful. Newcomers’ negative reactions to the school-to-work transition can cause lower job performance, job satisfaction, and/or organizational commitment, and ultimately possible turnover within the first year on the job. Despite research and programming by both human resource development professionals and undergraduate education scholars and practitioners, gaps exist in the literature as to how best to address newcomer adjustment. Psychological capital (PsyCap) and proactive behaviors offer a new perspective on how individual newcomers can influence their own newcomer adjustment.

This manuscript provides a theoretical, empirical, and practical examination of the ways and extent to which PsyCap and proactive behaviors relate to successful newcomer adjustment among recent college graduates. An empirical study explored the relationships between PsyCap, proactive behaviors, and the newcomer adjustment outcomes of self-reported job performance, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment among 73 bachelor’s degree graduates within 1 year after college. The findings indicate that traditionally-aged recent college graduates who possess PsyCap and engage in proactive behaviors in their employment, especially in socializing and seeking information, consistently report higher levels of adjustment in terms of self-rated job performance, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. The consistency of the results across adjustment outcomes suggests that PsyCap and proactive behaviors may indeed play an important role in newcomer adjustment among recent college graduates.