Research by psychologists Jennifer Crocker and Amy Canevello at the U-M Institute for Social Research and published in the September 2008 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concludes trying to be supportive can bring benefits to both sides.
"Roommate relationships can be really good or they can be really bad. And the fear is that they'll go from bad to worse," said Crocker in a Tuesday press release. "But our study shows that you can create a supportive relationship and turn the stranger who's your roommate into a friend."
A National Institutes of Health funded study looked at more than 300 college freshmen who had been assigned to share rooms with other students with whom they were unacquainted. The goal was to see how students own relationship approaches affected their relationships with roommates and ultimately their own emotional health.
Thirty-two percent of students reported always or almost always feeling lonely during the first week of the study, compared to only about 17 percent in the 10th or final week of the study.