Stress Among University Students
1. INTRODUCTION Stress is associated with the absence of inner peace in eastern philosophies. Moreover, “stress is a peculiar problem in that no one can consistently predict the amount or kind of stress that can turn an otherwise normal, positive human situation into one involving an unpredictable, irrational response”. The level of stress experienced by teens on a daily basis has been described in lay and professional literature. Youngsters or teens, often have stress in their lives.
Whether caused by the loss of a friend or loved one, a recent move, being teased or bullied, difficulties at home, or problems at school. Childhood stress can lead to behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, headaches, drug use, and insomnia, among many other symptoms and medical problems. Physiological development, cognitive differences, pubertal changes, immature coping mechanisms, slower recovery from stressful events, and lack of experience in dealing with stress may intensify the stressful events experienced by adolescents
Adults often underestimate this level of stress and may not always be cognizant of the potential consequences of stress on teens and young adults. This lack of appreciation of the stress experienced by adolescents may be partially related to a lack of awareness of the sources of stress in teen life, the changing nature of stressors through time, the ever-evolving complexities of adolescent life, and the tendency for adults to minimize their own personal stress during the teen years or compare their teen years to the experiences of others. (Herman, 2005).
Acc to, Glenn M Calagus 2011, one form of stress constantly being experienced by students is academic stress, “Academic stress is the product of a combination of academic related demands that exceed the adaptive resources available to an individual” and academic stress adversely affects the overall adjustment of students. The purpose of this study was to determine teen perceptions about the stressors they face, offering an adolescent perspective to the literature related to teen stress. Also, it finds the difference between the stress factors among the boys and girls.
Different stressors such as time management, financial problems, sleep deprivation, social activities, and for some students even having children, can all pose their own threat to a student’s academic performance. According to Lau (2002), “Teens can experience a spectrum of stresses ranging from ordinary to severe” (p. 238). Stress has been associated with a variety of high-risk behaviors, including smoking, suicide, depression, drug abuse, behavioral problems, and participating in highrisk sexual behaviors (Finkelstein, Kubzansky, Capitman, & Goodman, 2007.
In addition, long-term exposure to stress is associated with a variety of chronic psychological and physical illnesses (Goodman et al. , 2005). High-risk teens, or those who live in social disadvantage, may be at increased risk for illness related to chronic exposure to stress, discrimination, stigma, and a “harsh social environment” (Goodman et al. , 2005, p. 485). Chandra and Batada (2006) purported that assessing adolescent stressors and “the impact of stress is the first step in the prevention and treatment of its associated chronic diseases” (p. ). This study was taken because stress is very common among the students of universities and colleges of Karachi, therefore, it is very important to conduct a research and determine the main causes of stress among students, in order to take measures to help them. Also, stress leads to many behavioral problems which need to be reduced. Some very common stressors that we have also focused mostly on are: Academic problems: This includes different problems such as pressure of good grades, parents and teachers’ expectations and also short class attendance.
Most of the students are under stress a lot due to the academic pressures. Our research will tell the perspective of students of Karachi University. Family issues: This includes issues such as the change in health of a family member, problems among parents like arguments or broken family and financial problems in family. Death of closed ones: Whenever a person loses his/her closed one, he feels stressed. A close family member or friend may cause stress, sometimes severe depression among youngsters. This affects their studies too.
Problems in handling personal problems: Teenage or youth is the age when a person undergoes so many changes in his life. New bonds and relationships are mostly formed this age, often it becomes quite difficult to handle. Not only the relationship of a partner/ fiance creates problems but often it becomes difficult in dealing with family and friends and class fellows. These personal problems lead to stress. How they deal with stress? These stress factors, when cause stress among the young student, they take some measure to deal and cope with it.
Some lose hope, while others plan and work on their situation. Few take support of pills, drugs and alcohol to lessen the pain and feel relaxed while others pray or meditate to feel relaxed or do things like going out, watching T. V, cooking, shopping, reading and other things that they enjoy to think about it less. Now, here we have conducted a survey which will tell us how us a standard technique of the students of University of Karachi. It will also differentiate the measures adopted by girls and boys. KEY TERMS:
STRESS: physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension STRESSOR: an activity, event, or other stimulus that causes stress. INSOMNIA: inability to obtain sufficient sleep, especially when chronic; difficulty in falling or staying asleep; sleeplessness. ANXIETY: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune DEPRESSION: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal, sadness greater and more prolonged than thatwarranted by any objective reason. CHRONIC DISEASES: having long had a disease, habit, weakness, 2. LITERATURE REVIEW
The word stress has emerged as a part of current daily vocabulary and is not always well defined as a concept or uniformly understood. Several authorities have defined stress as it relates specifically to teens. According to Goodman et al. (2005), stress refers to a stimulus generating psychosocial and physiologic demands, and requiring action on the part of the individual. Finkelstein et al. (2007) differentiate stress in the adolescent period as having both environmental (objective assessments of conditions) and psychological (subjective evaluations) perspectives of stressful events.
The psychosocial perspective views stress from the experience of the individual and dictates that stress is assessed from a variety of dimensions, including the personal meaning of the stressor, the magnitude of the stressor, the demands placed by the stressor, and the coping mechanisms available to react to the stimulus (Finkelstein et al. , 2007). The current study is informed by this psychological, or personal subjective assessment, of the stress experience and how stress is interpreted on the individual level. Chandra and Batada (2006) asked teens to use their own words to define stress.
One of the teens described his stress as “a great deal of pain that’s inside your body that you can’t get out…and makes you feel bad” (Chandra & Batada, 2006, p. 4). Another stated stress was characterized by “worrying, keeping secrets, gray hair, problems, anger, being tense” (Chandra & Batada, 2006, p. 4). These definitions of stress led to an exploration of adolescent perceptions on the origins of stress. The research related to stress has identified several key sources of stressors having an impact on teens, including school, family and home life, social disadvantage and other stressors.
According to Lau (2002), there were three main clusters of stress associated with school that included “fear of success or failure, test or performance anxiety, and fears associated with the school setting” (p. 241). In addition, teens with a low self-esteem were reported to seek “acknowledgment and acceptance by teachers and peers,” which was also extremely stressful (Lau, 2002, p. 241). Often, “a perceived lack of respect from teachers as well as general conflicts” with teachers stressed teens within the school setting and inhibited “their academic performance and school functioning” (Chandra & Batada, 2006, p. 5).
Poor student teacher relationships were noted to have a profound impact on learning, success in school, and overall stress levels (Chandra & Batada, 2006). Teens noted that not getting along with a sibling or parents were indicators of family stress. Teens also cited that hearing or seeing their parents fight with each other and worrying about the general outcome of these altercations was a frequent stressor (Lau, 2002). Customary methods families and parents use to deal with current stressors and conflict, including arguing, yelling, or physical fighting, may affect the level of stress perceived by the teen (Tarrant & Woon, 1995).
All the above mentioned researches are undoubtedly true to a great extent. We would like to add some stressors that have not been highlighted. Short class attendance, death of a closed one and when students do not live up to their own standards. These are some factors that do add to the stressors amongst youngsters these days. Our research has highlighted few different stressors and also found some measures they take to find relief from stress. For instance, they pray and meditate, go out for shopping and do stuff they like to find relief and also often devise a plan or strategy to solve their problem.
This shows a positive change taking place amongst youngsters, that they not only go on drugs, sleeping pills, commit suicide or get rash in stress but they also try to work it out and make their life better. The results will further tell the ratio of positive and negative changes amongst young girls and boys. 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Sampling: The stress evaluation was based on 120 students of Karachi University. Random technique was used. There were total 120 questionnaires of 3 different types. Each type focused on different issues.
As there are 4 researchers in the team, therefore the questionnaires were divided in a way that 40 questionnaires of each type (A,B and C) were filled by the students. The survey was conducted mostly among the students of the Arts faculty. Students were approached randomly in Arts lobby and their respective department. Since our research is also based on the difference of girls and boys so it was made sure that each type would be filled by a certain amount of number specified for boys and girls. Out of 40, each type was filled by 25 girls and 15 boys.
The number is unequal due to the unequal ratio of girls and boys in the University, specifically Art Faculty, girls being larger in number than boys. Students that were free during their university schedule were asked to fill the survey forms under the supervision of researcher. Measures: Demographic information: Total subjects involved in the study were 120 students selected from faculty of Arts enrolled in BS program of University Of Karachi. The age group included 18-24 yrs of age. Academic qualification included both undergraduates and graduates.
Task: The task given to the subjects was a survey form, stress evaluation form . Basic information was first asked from the students (dept and year); then they were asked to fill it individually under the supervision of researcher. The stress profile was designed with the purpose to gather data on the number of physical and psychological stress issues faced by university students. It focused on the stress factors that are common and some measures that they usually take when to cope with stress. There were three different types of forms A, B and C.
Each focused on different stressors and measures. It consisted of two parts. Part 1 consisted of general information (name, age , gender, dpt. , year etc) Part 2 consisted of 10 questions on different factors that cause stress among the students and the measures that the take in stress. Questions were to be answered as Yes or No Participants were also told the purpose of the study. Procedure: The research was designed to evaluate the stress status of university students. Hence the specific questionnaire was searched and selected for the survey.
First, some of the statements in part 2 were reframed to make them more simple, clear and according to the current lifestyle patterns of university students. Then the questions were divided among 3 types equally in to A, B and C. After the survey forms were finalized, all the team conducting the research was divided and each researcher was given equal number of forms A,B and C for the survey. Participants were asked to calculate their score. Evaluation was given to them on the basis of the score . After the completion of survey by all the members, data was compiled.
After the data analysis, percentages were calculated to compare the level of stress and the measures among girls and boys. RESULT: The result will be given in two different ways, i. e. first the most common stressor and the techniques to deal with stress will be identified among girls and boys separately. Then, their results will be compared to analyze the difference among the girls and boys of our society related to the stressors and the impacts of stress among them. Following are the exact percentages calculated by the data. STRESSORS: 1. Academic problems: (Includes bad grades and teacher’s disappointment)
Girls: 80% girls say yes , 20% say no. Boys: 40% boys say yes, 60% say no 2. Short class attendance: Girls: 45% say yes, 55% say no Boys: 10% say yes, 90% say no. 3. Family issues ( health problems in family) : Girls: 80% say yes, 20% say no. Boys: 60% guys say yes, 40% say no. 4. Death of a close friend/family: Girls: 85% say yes, 15% say no. Boys: 20% say yes, 80% say no. 5. Problems in handling personal problems: Girls: 80% say yes, 20% say no Boys: 60% say yes, 40% say no. 6. Parents’ expectations: Girls: 95 % say yes, 5 % say no. Boys: 60% guys say yes, 40 % say no. 7. Do not live up to your own expectations:
Girls: 58% say yes, 42% say no. Boys: 70% say yes, 30 % say no. 8. Problems with class fellows: Girls: 55% say yes Boys: 50% say ye STRESSORS Most common stressor among both girls and boys was found to be not able to reach up to parents’ expectations, academic stress (which includes the stress due to bad grades, pressure of work and also disappointment shown by teachers) and death of a closed one. Impacts and how they deal with stress: 1. Sleeping/anxiety pills: Girls: 5% say yes Boys: 20% say yes 2. Alcohol/drugs: Girls: 20% say yes 80% say no Boys: 60% say yes 40 % say no. 3.
Pray or meditate: Girls: 80% say yes Boys: 60% say yes 4. Make a strategy: Girls: 60% say yes 40% say no. Boys: 95% say yes 5. Take advice from others: Girls: 70% say yes 30% say no Boys: 80% say yes 6. Get busy in activities (shopping, watching TV, reading, etc. ): Girls: 80% say yes Boys: 90% say yes 7. Insomnia: Girls: 60% say yes Boys: 70% say yes. 4. ANALYSIS & INTERPERTATION OF DATA This chart shows the difference among boys and girls related to the stressors they mostly face in their lives. It shows that girls are more concerned and stressed about their academics as compared to boys. . DISCUSSION Stress arising from perceived expectations either by others (teachers/parents) or by self is a reality among the youth. If one is under a large amount of huge stress, one would tend to think that it will affect the daily life. The previous researches related to stress have identified sources of stressors having an impact on youth, including school, family and home life, social disadvantage . The study at hand focused on few different stressors like short attendance ,death of a closed one etc and some measures they take to find relief from it.
According to our research result most common stressor among both boys and girls was found to be not able to reach up to parents’ expectations, academic stress and death of a closed one. This qualitative data that was examined at the end of the survey does run parallel to what was found in the review of the literature. On the other hand, the significant differences were found between male and female respondents. The research found that females scored significantly higher than males in chronic stress and minor daily stresses.
Common measures which were adopted for the relief were observed to be to take advice from others, make strategy and to get involve in other activities. Being the university students ourselves and dealing with this stress on daily basis gave us a great deal of insight on the subject researched. We are completely aware of the impacts of factors identified like parents’ expectations, academic stress and death of a closed one that add to the stressors amongst youngsters these days. LIMITATIONS The study had limitations that might have had an effect on the results.
The timing of the study was during the midterms with exams dates on the horizon, which may have contributed to the emphasis on school as the high priority stressor. Another limitation was not to have an insight on the students of other universities as the subjects of our study were the students selected from University of Karachi. SUGGESTIONS AND CONCLUSION 1. Suggestions for university (1) Identify students’ stress as soon as possible and provide adequate support Universities should provide more support and care to help students cope with various stressors and identify students having stress reactions as soon as possible.
Besides, through use of emotion-related questionnaires, universities can keep a close eye on students’ physical and mental conditions and provide consulting services to avoid development of physical or mental problems in students. If necessary, university can also refer students to professional consulting institutions. (2) Incorporate career development issues into formal curricula University students feel relatively more stressors in the career aspect. Universities are thus suggested to design a flexible course of career education based on students’ future career development. This course must cover psychological, ental, social, and cultural contents and be incorporated into formal curricula of each department. (3) Design general curriculum on stress and stress-coping strategies Insufficiency of stress-related courses is a common problem among universities. As modern people at all age levels are faced with increasing stress in life, how to pursue well-being and enhance stress management abilities has become essential knowledge for modern people and job-seekers. Hence, universities should design and offer stress-related courses to help students understand the meaning of well-being and learn how to cope with stress-induced problems. 4) Pay attention to students’ stress in learning Universities should pay attention to students’ troubles with learning and apply appropriate strategies to enhance their learning effectiveness. In addition, they should provide courses on life stress coping on a regular basis to consolidate students’ psychology and teach them how to relax themselves along with stress management skills. Through proper education, students are able to identify stressors, manage them, and seek support. Teachers should also assist students with inferior academic achievement to minimize their troubles with learning. . Suggestions for students (1) Effectively manage emotions and develop an optimistic view of life Students should pay attention to their physical and mental health and examine their emotions at all times to avoid onset of stress-induced depression or physical disorders. Besides, they should learn to understand, accept, and recognize themselves, take a positive attitude toward getting along with their friends, learn to express and manage their emotions, and effectively manage their emotions so as to develop positive relations and an optimistic view of life.
In their learning process, they should cultivate an undaunted spirit. Once any stress-induced emotion arises, they should relax the emotion through an appropriate channel rather than going for anxiety reducing pills, examine their own problems, and seek solutions. Suppression of emotions is not the only approach to controlling emotions. In face of stress, they can take a different perspective and learn to cope with it by changing their views. Stress-induced emotions can be self-managed. (2) Increase stress management abilities and learn to seek support Students should play an active role in stress management.
On one hand, they can learn various stress coping measures from various channels and transform anxiety or frustration caused by inadequate adaptation to stress. On the other, they should also enhance their emotions management abilities, monitor their emotions, and build their own emotions management models. If any stress arises, they should analyze the causes of the stress from a positive perspective and seek solutions or support from professional institutions. (3) Make use of family support and release stress-reduced emotions Family support is helpful for students faced with stress, no matter how they are adaptable to the stress.
While University students should take advantage of family support. 3. Suggestion for Family/Parents Family members should try to understand their children’s interests, specialties, and abilities so as to avoid having too high expectations of them and causing them additional stress. Parents should take measures in order to help their children cope up with their personal problems that are making them stressed. Help children put words to their feelings. Ask them if they feel nervous, scared, or worried. Ask them what is making them feel that way.
Parents should spend quality time with their children and discuss with them their opinions in a friendly environment. In this way a stress free student today will be a happier, healthier person tomorrow. BIBLIOGRAPGY (By Yumna Ansari, Areej Fatima, Tehreem Atta) * www. stressmanagementblog. com/… stress/causes-of-stress-on-students * stress. about. com/od/studentstress/a/stress_college. htm * www. jour. unr. edu/outpost/voices/voi. slaboch. stress. html * ourblogs88. blogspot. com/ * findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0FCR/is_2_33/ai_62839434/ * www. stressmanagementblog. com/causes… stress/causes-of-stress-on-stress