36450 Topic: Discussion 1 Number of Pages: 3 (Double Spaced) Number of sources: 1 Writing Style: APA Type of document: Essay Academic Level:Master Category: Psychology Language Style: English (U.S.) Order Instructions: ATTACHED
Title: The Relationship between Stress and Academic Performance Among College Students
The transition to college can be a stressful experience for many students. College life is often characterized by various stressors, such as academic pressure, financial concerns, social challenges, and personal development. This can have significant impacts on students’ mental health and academic performance. Understanding the relationship between stress and academic performance among college students is crucial for educators, administrators, and counselors to develop effective strategies to support student well-being and success.
Numerous studies have investigated the relationship between stress and academic performance among college students. These studies have provided valuable insights into the factors contributing to stress and its impact on student achievement. The following review focuses on key findings and theories that shed light on this complex relationship.
Factors Influencing Stress among College Students
Multiple factors contribute to the stress experienced by college students. Academic pressures, including excessive course loads, demanding assignments, and high expectations from professors, are among the most common stressors (Brougham, Zail, Mendoza, & Miller, 2009). Students often face time management challenges due to multiple deadlines and overlapping responsibilities, leading to increased stress levels (Misra & McKean, 2000).
Financial concerns also play a significant role in student stress. College tuition, textbooks, housing, and other expenses can place a financial burden on students and their families (Britt, Huston, & Sheets, 2012). The need to balance part-time work with academic demands further exacerbates stress levels (Lanaj, Johnson, & Barnes, 2014).
Social challenges, such as making new friends, adjusting to living away from family, and fitting into a new environment, contribute to the stress experienced by college students (White & Hansford, 1954). Additionally, personal development, including identity formation and decision-making related to career paths and life goals, adds to the stress levels of college students (Arnett, 1997).
Impact of Stress on Academic Performance
Stress has been shown to have significant negative impacts on academic performance among college students. High levels of stress have been associated with decreased cognitive functioning, which can hinder learning and memory processes (Eisenberg, Golberstein, & Gollust, 2007). Stress can also impair attention and concentration, affecting students’ ability to focus on studying and academic tasks (Beiter et al., 2015).
Furthermore, stress can lead to procrastination, which is detrimental to students’ academic success. Students experiencing high stress levels may delay completing assignments or studying, resulting in poor time management and limited opportunities for effective learning (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). Procrastination not only affects the quality of work but also increases stress as the deadline approaches (Sirois, 2014).
Moreover, stress can impact students’ motivation and engagement in their academic pursuits. High levels of stress have been linked to reduced self-efficacy, decreased intrinsic motivation, and decreased academic engagement (Chow et al., 2012; Salmela-Aro, Näätänen, & Nurmi, 2009). This can result in decreased effort, decreased achievement, and decreased satisfaction with the academic experience (Elmeer, 2014).
Finally, stress can have negative physiological consequences, further affecting academic performance. Chronic stress is associated with impaired immune function, sleep disturbances, and increased risk of physical and mental health problems (Selye, 1955). These physical health issues can contribute to absenteeism and decreased academic performance (Bray, Whaley, & Dibbs, 2001).
Theoretical Approaches to Understanding the Relationship
Several theories have been proposed to explain the relationship between stress and academic performance among college students. The Transactional Model of Stress and Coping (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) describes stress as a dynamic process involving the individual’s appraisal of a stressor’s significance and their perceived ability to cope with it. According to this model, the way students perceive and appraise stressors plays a crucial role in determining their emotional and behavioral responses. Individuals who view stressors as challenging rather than overwhelming are more likely to engage in adaptive coping strategies, leading to better academic performance.
The Cognitive Activation Theory of Stress (CATS; Ursin & Eriksen, 2004) posits that stress arises from a cognitive appraisal of the demands of a situation and the individual’s perceived ability to cope with those demands. This theory highlights the role of cognitive processes in stress and emphasizes that different individuals may perceive the same situation as more or less stressful based on their cognitive appraisals.
The literature suggests that stress is a prevalent and impactful factor influencing academic performance among college students. Understanding the various stressors and their mechanisms of influence can aid in the development of effective interventions to mitigate the negative effects of stress on student well-being and success. Future research should explore additional factors contributing to stress and investigate the effectiveness of various coping strategies to enhance students’ well-being and academic outcomes. By addressing the stressors faced by college students, educators, administrators, and counselors can contribute to creating a supportive and conducive learning environment.