An exploratory study of students’ weekly stress levels and sources of stress during the semester

Article


Pitt, Adele, Oprescu, Florin, Tapia, Geraldine and Gray, Marion. 2017. "An exploratory study of students’ weekly stress levels and sources of stress during the semester." Active Learning in Higher Education. 19 (1), pp. 61-75. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787417731194
Article Title

An exploratory study of students’ weekly stress levels and sources of stress during the semester

ERA Journal ID19324
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsPitt, Adele (Author), Oprescu, Florin (Author), Tapia, Geraldine (Author) and Gray, Marion (Author)
Journal TitleActive Learning in Higher Education
Journal Citation19 (1), pp. 61-75
Number of Pages15
Year2017
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1469-7874
1741-2625
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787417731194
Web Address (URL)https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1469787417731194
Abstract

Studying at university can be a very stressful experience. Although the literature provides some information regarding different sources of stress among students, studies have not addressed the issue of changes over the course progression. This study aimed to obtain a deeper understanding of the sources of stress for first-year students and whether these stressors are more prevalent at different times during the semester. A mixed-method approach was used. Content analysis was undertaken on longitudinal electronic message data, and thematic analysis was used for focus group data. Results indicated an increasing trend of stress over the semester. The major stressors identified were academic, financial/work, personal, family-related, interpersonal, social support, university/life balance and starting university. A number of stressors were found to be more prevalent at different times during the semester, including some academic-related stressors plus starting university, family-related and financial/work-related stressors. This is one of the few studies to examine the influence of timing of the levels of stress. Importantly, this study suggests that the start and end of the first semester constitute the riskiest periods for negative stress-related consequences. These results could be used to assist universities in developing student support programmes.

Keywordssources of stress; stressor distribution; students university; Education Systems; Specialist Studies in Education
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390499. Specialist studies in education not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of the Sunshine Coast
University of Bordeaux, France
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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