University student stress
Due to the challenging nature of university, students can potentially experience high levels of stress that can affect their health and academic performance (Hamaideh, 2011). Indeed, an increasing number of university students appear to be experiencing significant mental health issues. In addition, the proportion of people enrolling in university is increasing. These trends indicate that stress and mental health issues are likely to become an even more notable phenomenon amongst university students.
This page is intended to be an informative resource about stress experienced by university students. Currently it consists of notes developed for the purposes of:
- summarising existing measures of university student stress and
- developing a new measure of university student stress for use in psychological research studies.
Two main approaches to measuring university stress are evident - ratings of the amount of stress from different sources (stressors) and ratings of degree of different types of stress responses (reactions). Some measurement instruments measure both these aspects (Gadzella, 1991). In addition, university-related stress is measured in some studies globally (overall).
Summary of the main university student stress factors measured by the identified instrumentation:
Summaries of measurement instruments
University Stress Scale (USS)
College Chronic Life Stress Survey (CCLSS)
Graduate Stress Inventory-Revised (GSI-R)
Lakaev Academic Stress Response Scale (LASRS)
Psychology Student Stress Questionnaire (PSSQ)
Student Stress Survey (SSS)
University student stress (USS)
The proposed measure of university student stress consists of three parts:
Global measure of university stress, coping and satisfaction (see Burge, 2009; Neill, 2010; Struthers et al.):
University student stress items
This draft set of items has been developed from Burge's (2009) closed-ended stressors, with revisions based on secondary exploratory factor analytic results, other reviewed academic stress instruments, and also the responses by participants to Burge's open-ended question about other university stressors.
There are nine proposed factors:
With regards to studying at university, how stressful do you find each of the following?
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- Lane, B. (2010). Enrolment grows ahead of 2025 target, The Australian, 16/6/2010.
- Struthers, C., Perry, R., & Menec, V. (2000). An examination of the relationship among academic stress, coping, motivation, and performance in college. Research in Higher Education, 41(5), 581-592.
- Towbes, L. C., & Cohen, L. H. (1996). Chronic stress in the lives of college students: Scale development and prospective prediction of distress. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 25, 199-217.
- Rocha-Singh, I. A. (1990). Doctoral students' perceptions of stress and support: Implications for the retention of targeted students of color. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara.
- Lakaev, N. (2006). Development of a stress response inventory for university students. Unpublished manuscript. Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
- Lakaev, N. (2009). Validation of an Australian academic stress questionnaire. Australian Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 19(1), 56-70.
- Cahir, N., & Morris, R. D. (1991). The Psychology Student Stress Questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47(3), 414-417.
- Gadzella, B. M. (1991). Student-Life stress inventory. Commerce, TX: Author.
- Misra, R., & McKean, M. (2000). College students’ academic stress and its relation to their anxiety, time management, and leisure satisfaction. American Journal of Health Studies, 16, 41-52.
- Ross, S. E., Niebling, B. C., & Heckert, M. (1999). Sources of stress among college students. College Student Journal, June.
- Cohen, S., Kamarack, T., & Mermeistein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385-396.
- Gallagher, D. J. (1990). Extraversion, neuroticism and appraisal of stressful academic events. Personality and Individual Differences, 11(10), 1053-1057.
- Andersson, C., Johnsson, K. O., Burgland, M., & Ojehagen, A. (2009). Stress and hazardous alcohol use: Associations with early dropout from university. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 37, 713–719.
- Campbell, R. L, & Svenson, L. W. (1992). Perceived level of stress among university undergraduate students in Edmonton, Canada. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 75, 552-554.
- Chambel, M. J. & Curral, L. (2005). Stress in academic life: Work characteristics as predictors of student well-being and performance. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 54, 135-147.
- Earnest, D. R., & Dwyer, W. O. (2010). In their own words: An online strategy for increasing stress-coping skills among college freshman. College Student Journal, 44, 888-900.
- Gnilka, P. B., Ashby, J. S., Matheny, K. B., Chung, Y. B., & Chang, Y. (2015). Comparison of coping, stress, and life satisfaction between Taiwanese and U.S. college students. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 37, 234-249. doi:10.17744/mehc.37.3.04
- Hamaideh, S. H. (2011). Stressors and reactions to stressors among university students. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 57, 69-80.
- Holinka, C. (2015). Stress, emotional intelligence, and life satisfaction in college students. College Student Journal, 49, 300-311.
- Manjula, M. (2016). Academic stress management: An intervention in pre-university college youth. Journal of The Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 42, 105-113.
- Mosley, T. H., Perrin, S. G., Neral, S. M., Dubbert, P. M., Grothues, C. A., & Pinto, B. M. (1994). Stress, coping, and well-being among third-year medical students. Academic Medicine, 69, 765-767. doi:10.1097/00001888-199409000-00024
- Nonis, S. A., Hudson, G., Logan, L. B., & Ford, C. W. (1998). Influence of perceived control over time on college student’s stress and stress–related outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 39, 587-605.
- Murphy, M. C., & Archer, J. (1996). Stressors on the college campus: A comparison of 1985-1993. Journal of College Student Development, 37, 20-22.
- Pierceall, E. A., & Keim, M. C. (2007). Stress and coping strategies among community college students. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 31, 703–712. doi:10.1080/10668920600866579
- Samaha, M., & Hawi, N. S. (2016). Relationships among smartphone addiction, stress, academic performance, and satisfaction with life. Computers in Human Behavior, 57, 321-325. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.045
- Urquijo, I., Extremera, N., & Villa, A. (2015). Emotional intelligence, life satisfaction, and psychological well-being in graduates: The mediating effect of perceived stress. Applied Research in Quality of Life, doi:10.1007/s11482-015-9432-9
- Weinstein, L., & Laverghetta, A. (2009). College student stress and satisfaction with life. College Student Journal, 43, 1161-?11.
- /Burge (2009)
- University student coping
- University student satisfaction
- University student time management
- Table 1 - http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCR/is_2_33/ai_62839434/pg_2/?tag=content;col1
- Wordle of what 294 UC students say is stressful, Sem 2, 2009 - for raw data see Burge 2009.
- Stress Management: University of Georgia
- From Topuniversities.com: Handling stress at university—it is possible
- Bookmarks: academic stress, university student stress