English / Ouantitaive Research: Stress Among College Students

Ouantitaive Research: Stress Among College Students

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Autor:  anton  20 December 2010
Tags:  Ouantitaive,  Research,  Stress,  College,  Students
Words: 2518   |   Pages: 11
Views: 828

Through personal experience, we each found that students who were in college are likely to report feeling stress. We tend to find a significant difference between college students with jobs and college students without jobs. Based on prior knowledge, we know that acute stress can be related to small daily hassles, while chronic stress takes place when several environmental stressors continue to be a worry for a long period of time, like finances and schoolwork. Emotional stress, such as anxiety, is also connected to academic stress. Students who work are exposed to more occurrences of stress. For all of the reasons listed previously, we hope to see that our study will yield to our prediction, that students with jobs will report feeling more stressed than students without jobs. Within our study we will research the following questions: How does working and going to school contribute to stress among college students; Are the grades of college students who work at least 20 hours per week affected?

The affects of working while in college varies by the type of job held: full-time versus part-time. Negative effects typically occur because of hours spent at work take time away from studying, which may lead to lower grades. Working may contribute to students dropping out of college or taking a longer time to graduate. But student employment can also be a positive experience. Some students may gain experience at their job that helps push them harder in the classroom. Many students also may feel as if there is no impact on them physically or mentally by trying to balance a job and school. Within our other study, we feel as if that a student with no job excel further in academics than students who work at least 20 hours per week.

Employment and academics generally harms grades and is stressful. These effects depend on being a part-time or full-time student, how many classes the student is taking, how many hours per week they work, how many hours of sleep they are receiving, how many hours do they study a week and whether they generally take morning or evening classes. While conducting this research we will be using not only a survey and interviews to gain quantitative data for this research paper, but we will also use 10 outside references that have approached similar research information pertaining to our own. These references will help our research to give us both the positive and negative aspects of college student who work while attending school. It demonstrates that there is research in place to build upon and continue. Our research will be able to take in mind all of the conclusions of other works and expand.

Quantitative research is the systematic scientific investigation of quantitative properties and phenomena and their relationships (wikipedia). For our project we chose to use two quantitative research methods. The research methods our group used were interviews and surveys. We chose to use these methods because they are two of the most popular quantitative techniques. We also felt that these methods allow our results to be generalized to the population under study.

We surveyed 18 working college students. Each student surveyed was given 10 standardized questions to answer. We also interviewed two working college students, one male and one female. The two interviewees were also asked standardized questions.

The surveys provided our group with general information like: classification, whether they were part-time or full-time students, the amount of hours they work a week, the amount of hours of sleep they obtain a night, whether they turn in assignments on time, and etc. However, the interviews provided our group with specific information about how working college students’ grades are affected from the perspective of a male and the perspective of a female.

The interviews we conducted characterize the views of male and female working college students. Some questions we asked these students were: Does school interfere with work? ; How does work and school affect your leisure time? ; As well as do you believe school and work has a negative or positive affect on your academics? The data gathered from the surveys and interviews will be displayed in a graph that will illustrate the results of our findings.

Overall, our group felt that surveys and interviews were the best approach to gather data for our quantitative research project. Based on the results of the surveys and responses of the interviews, we were able to determine how working college students’ grades were affected negatively or positively.

From findings of our survey, we found that full-time employment may cause students to drop out of school, but that part-time is more encouraging to students to remain in school. Work is becoming increasingly common among students. Although employment generally harms persistence rates, the effects more so depend on hours of work and the degree to which employment removes the student from the campus community. For example, part-time employment work appears to have little negative effect on students’ GPA and it some cases it may have a positive effect. Students similarly generally perceive that limited work does not have a negative effect on their academics.

Full-time work on the other hand, does appear to have a negative effect on students’ academic performance. Therefore, it is a concern that full-time work among full-time college students may be cautious to find other ways of financing college so they can complete their degrees, maintain their academic performance and collect the long-term benefits of a college education.

We found that within our literature reviews that there has been much discussion weighing the facts of this matter. This demonstrates that there is research in place to build upon and continue. According to The Condition of Education, the percentage of college students aged 16-24 working while enrolled increased from 34% in 1970 to 47% in 1995 for full-time students. Data indicates that 80% of American undergraduate students who worked while attending college in 1999-2000 (King 2003).

This study investigates how does working and going to college contribute to stress among college students and are the grades of college students who work at least 20 hours per week affected? Through personal experience, we each found that students who were in college are likely to report feeling stressed. We tend to find a significant difference between college students with jobs and college students without jobs. Based on prior knowledge, we know that acute stress can be related to small daily hassles, while chronic stress takes place when several environmental stressors continue to be a worry for a long period of time, like finances and schoolwork. Emotional stress, such as anxiety, is also connected to academic stress. Students who work are exposed to more occurrences of stress (Meeker 2006).

In 2002, The Associated Press found that employment and academics generally harms grades and are stressful. These effects depend on being a part-time or full-time student, how many classes the student is taking, how many hours per week they work, how many hours of sleep they are receiving, how many hours they spend studying a week and whether they generally take morning or evening classes.

The United States Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, conducted a study examining the characteristics and educational experience of working adult undergraduates, focusing on those who considered employment their primary activity. The participants were divided into to two groups depending on their answer to the question, “While you were enrolled and working would you say you were primarily: 1) a student working to meet expenses or 2) an employee who decided to enroll in school?” In 1999-2000, roughly two thirds of working undergraduates’ age 24 or older reported that work was their primary activity.

Some authors stated that nearly 50% of all full-time students are working enough hours to hinder their academic experience, including grade performance, class schedule, and class choice (King & Bannon 2002). Fjortoft (1995) reported that “the more time a student devotes to employment, the less he or she has for either academic or social activities.” On the other hand, Cheung (2004) believed that there was no significant difference between working and nonworking students in their academic and social experiences.

The National Center for Education Statistics researched how working intensity, part-time versus full-time, differs according to enrollment status, student characteristics, and the types of institutions undergraduates attend. The research uses data from the 1989-1990 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study to examine how much undergraduates worked while enrolled in postsecondary education. According to this report, among full-time, full-year undergraduates, those working only 1-15 hours per week while enrolled were more likely to have high GPA’s, 3.5 or higher, than were their counterparts who worked more hours. Among undergraduates who initially enrolled full-time, the more hours they worked, the more likely they were to drop to less than full-time enrollment or stop attending.

According to the 1992-93 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 72% if the undergraduates in this analysis worked an average of 31 hours per week and 88% of the months they were enrolled. Among these students, there was a negative association between average hours worked and full-time attendance. The more students’ work, the less likely they are to attend full-time. Working full-time and attending classes part time were both independently associated with lower rates of persistence and degree attainment (Berkner, Cuccaro-Alamin and McCormick 1996; Horn 1996).

It has been established that moderate amounts of stress help motivate us and, at times, increase our performance (Moore, Burrows & Dalziel 1992). Within a college social system, freshmen and sophomores lack the strong social support networks and have not yet developed the coping mechanisms used by juniors and seniors to deal with college stress (Allen & Heibert 1991).

Within this study of research we interviewed two random students that work and go to school. Margo Honesty is a 24-year-old female who is graduating this semester, spring 2006. She is a full-time student and a full-time employee, who generally takes morning classes. When asked if school and work ever interferes or collides with one another, she said no because she will not let it. She believes “if you work hard, then play hard.” However, she does believe that it affects her leisure time, “there is not enough time in a day. I don't really have any time. I’m either studying or working, so I have to basically make time to do everything.” For about seven years she has been working as a full-time employee while going to school. Only one negative affect has come out of working at her job, that it’s not her major. But she loves her job and has even considered changing her major to criminal justice, which fits her job description now.

Trevin Shepard is a part-time, 22-year-old student that we also interviewed. Working close to almost 40 hours a week, Trevin has only had time for one class this semester, when he usually a full-time student. Just as Margo, Trevin doesn’t believe that school and work interfere with each other. It has been four years that he has been working while in school, he doesn’t believe that school and work affects his leisure time. Not knowing if he is enjoying his job, but he believes that it does have a positive affect on his academics because it is his major and in his field of work.

This study represents the first step in understanding the difference between a conventional college student and an unconventional student. We were unable to identify the sources of the stress other than the expected stress of lack of time due to the student’s workload and class schedule. When stress is perceived negatively or becomes excessive, students experience physical and psychological impairment (Murphy &Archer, 1996). Methods to reduce stress by students often include effective time management, social support, positive reappraisal and engagement in leisure pursuits (Blake & Vandiver, 1988; Mattlin, Wethington, & Kessler, 1990).

Stress results from the interaction between stressors and the individual’s perception and reaction to those stressors (Romano, 1992). The amount of stress experienced may be influenced by the individual’s ability to effectively cope with stressful events and situations. If stress is not dealt with effectively, feeling of loneliness and nervousness, as well as sleeplessness and excessive worrying may result.

The research could be expanded by exploring and determining the degree of stress resulting from each source. This would permit conclusions on which stressors are most detrimental or severe and which stressors have a negligible effect. That information can be useful in designing a stress intervention by suggesting the focal point and content of the workshop. Also, exploring which source of stress that is motivating and beneficial, and which sources of stress are unfavorable. It has been established that moderate amounts of stress are harmful. Also, it has been established that moderate amounts of stress help motivate us and, at times, increase our performance (Moore, Burrows, & Dalziel, 1992). The outcome of stress may be dependent upon its source and its harshness. This possibility should be investigated in future research. Given that our sample was from this campus only, future research should verify our findings with a more diverse sample.

There were several limitations through this research; there was a possibility that poor time management behaviors may cause academic stress. Alternatively, academic stress may cause poor time as a result of the accompanying stress, be less able to manage and control their time. Also, this should be conducted in a more heterogeneous population and larger university setting consisting of various races to determine the associations between the constructs. We needed more participants in our study we did not have enough subjects of each kind of different answers to compare to each other. Also, we needed some questions in which probed each topic to narrow down a stressor such as asking the subjects if they had children.

Future research should explore the other mediator variables that could possibly explain the weak, or lack of, correlation between academic stress and other measures: career goals, academic performance, work and life stress, employment status, social support, and coping mechanisms. Furthermore, any differences in life stress and work experiences should be investigated to ascertain if an environmental difference could account for higher stress levels by gender and age.

In conclusion, our results suggest that it may be necessary for college campuses to offer a stress and time management program. Given the effects of stress on ones health and academic performance; courses such as freshman orientation should emphasize the apparent problem and address the solution. Students should be informed of the campus resources available to help them address these resources. Certainly, stress in the college setting cannot be eliminated but we can and should do a better job preparing students to manage it.



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