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Impact Of Stress On Students Academic Performance Psychology Essay

The reason for this report is to provide a discussion on stress and exactly how it may possibly hinder students from doing the best that they can in relation to their educational journey. The literature is supportive of the fact that stress places demands on a person, and in respond to the stress, the body attempts to adapt to the stressful experience to keep a feeling of normalcy (Selye, 1974). Another common theme in the literature is the fact that university students are confronted with a unique group of stressors that may be overwhelming, this is proven to minimise their ability to handle it. (Dziegielewski et al. , 2004).

The Impact of Stress on Student's Academic Performance


Table of Contents



The research paper will contain information which will either prove or show no correlation between stress and the student's ability to execute well under these stressful circumstances.


Academic performance is influenced by numerous factors they could range from past events- school you result from, you previous financial conditions, your routines etc. and many upcoming event could affect it as well, such as, the new university environment, habitual changes as you'll take up more schooling responsibility and you might be overwhelmed by this. The analysis was derived from considering the amount of elderly and young students time for university after being in the workforce due to presenting to provide for their families. That is proven to be strenuous; they have major plenty of obligations and priorities to adhere to as well as maintaining the role of being a student. The problem of stress and stress related incidents and its own direct correlation to academic performance was a motive for the research paper as well. Lastly, the long arising dependence on qualified, capable and healthy graduates was the core guide. We need a healthy and productive workforce, I needed to discover the actual correlation between these stressors and performance are in order formulate a viable solution.

Purpose and objectives

The reason for the paper to discover if stress-relating factors like health issues- sleep deprivation and lack of the right behaviour, social economical status, financial status, workload, life priorities or stress itself affect academic performance of undergraduate students at TSiBA Education. The objectives of the paper are to determine the relationship between student's health insurance and nutrition issues and academic performance. To establish the partnership between work and student life and academic performance. To establish the partnership between students deprived from sleep, decline in attendance and academic performance of the students. Lastly, to establish the direct correlation between stress and the academic performance- through students who perceive high stress levels and comparing it to their GPA.

Scope and Limitations

Hindering factor is time as we must complete research- through interviews, surveys, questionnaires and literature reviews in under fourteen days. We resources are limited and our library has very little of the material we need to complete my RQ. Student are hard to win-over to complete your research with as they do not want to offer up their time for free, therefore i have to reward these to partake in my surveys, I will will have to fork out money to compensate them. Scope is that we have an outstanding lecturer who's understandable and will be offering his frequent support throughout the researching process. That is my first time dealing with this intense assignment which is scary as it something I considered and I need to find the correct answers to it, given my limited resources. I have my regular classes at university which occupies to 16-18 hours of my week and then have an additional course running in correspondence with another institution through my university which requires yet another 5 hours of my time weekly. Personally i think as stresses and tense about completing my assignment to the best of my ability in my given timeframe. Another great fact is that when i submit my draft report I have practically 6 weeks to complete my final report. Therefore; I believe even in my tough schedule I'll do well.

Plan of Development

My report begins by conveying a short synopsis of the research done. The sections it'll further consist of is solutions to gathering the various research, then a detailed literature review to determine premises for my hypothesis and guide the findings. Lastly I'll convey the results obtained and construct my argument in the attempt of answering my research question and I am going to then conclude.


2. 1 Participants

Forty undergraduate students at the Tertiary School in Business Administration in Pinelands, Cape Town were asked to complete a survey. Participants were recruited by asking lecturers in the several classes if I could pass the surveys out to the students just before the final outcome of the lectures. Twenty males and twenty females completed the survey.

The race between these students was diverse. The class standing of the 40 students' were equally distributed, 10 HCBA's, 10 BBA 1, 10 BBA 2, and 10 BBA 3 students. Students ranged in age from 18 to 40+. All forty students are full-time students; they take up approximately 12 to 18 hours of class weekly in a semester. The students who complete the survey will never be given credit to use towards any class, it is completely voluntarily.

2. 2 Design

The reason for this study is to identify if there is a correlation between your stress that students perceive they may be under, and their obtained GPA's (Grade Point Average). Taking into account that students might not be under the same amount of stress every semester, the survey is designed to be answered as it applies to the prior semester of university, June 2012. If my hypothesis deems to be correct, there will be a poor correlation between your amount of stress perceived by the student and that student's GPA throughout that same semester at school. In addition to adding another factor to the strain that a student perceives, I'd like to find out what the three main reasons they perceive themselves to be under either a lot of stress, or little by any means.

2. 3 Materials

2. 3. 1 Perceived Stress Scale.

In order for me to evaluate the quantity of stress that students perceive to be under, I'll use the Perceived Stress Scale, developed by Cohen and Mermeistein in 1983 (see Appendix A for Perceived Stress Scale). The Perceived Stress Scale compromises of your fourteen-item scale that asks the participant to answer a variety of questions as they relate to them within the last month. I edited the survey with the addition of in what, during last semester, to be able to evaluate the student's level of perceived stress at that time in time. The method of answering the questions is a scale format with answers ranging from 0 as an answer of to never 4 being an answer of very often. The scale produces an individual score and a higher score indicates a greater level of perceived stress, with items 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, being reversed scored. The Perceived Stress Scale has been proven to be reliable and measure only the quantity of stress, autonomous of other paradigms like depression.

2. 3. 2 Demographic Data Sheet.

Students will be asked to report information about themselves to control for insignificant variables. The sheet asks questions such as their genders, ages, races. Students may also be asked to answer questions about their course load and class standing. (see Appendix B for demographic data sheet).

2. 3. 3 Stress Factors Survey

The students will be asked to report the classes that they took through the semester of June 2012 and any marks that they received. There's a list of reasons that may have contributed with their GPA; these reasons were drawn out from that which was reviewed in the literature (see Appendix C for stress factors survey). The students will be asked to report their three significant reasons as to the reasons they received the marks that they earlier reported.

2. 4 Procedures

Forty students at the Tertiary School running a business Administration in Pinelands, Cape Town will be approached by me and asked if indeed they could take ten minutes and complete a survey. The students will first be asked to learn and sign a consent form to reinforce confidentiality (see Appendix D for informed consent form). The signed consent forms will be put into an envelope so the names of each of the students remain confidential. The students will be given sheets of paper attached together; the first paper is the Perceived Stress Scale. The next sheet of paper includes a series of questions regarding their gender, age, race, and class standing (HCBA, BBA1, BBA2 or BBA3). Following that they can be asked to list every class they had and the grades they had received for this.

Lastly, the students will be offered a list of possible stressors or could rather be observed as reasons they had obtained those marks last semester for his or her courses. I am going to facilitate the procedure and read through the directions with them carefully and ask of these to answer the questions as honestly as is feasible. I'll continuously inform you to them that their answers will be completely confidential and that their names and details cannot be matched with their answers.

Each group of participants will be tested under the same conditions, in classrooms on campus. They will be asked to complete the survey in a classroom that they are extremely familiar with, as they have got their regular classes in these rooms and feel safe in the area. The lighting in every of these classrooms is compact fluorescent bulbs, and the temperature is controllable and kept comfortable by the users of the room. The noise level in the classrooms is one minor factor i am unable to control. Since the noise level in the classroom won't exceed normal conversation levels, therefore; I really believe it should not need a direct effect on the results from the surveys.

After the student's complete the Perceived Stress Scale and fills out all of those other survey, I'll reward them with a chocolate bar as a token of my appreciation and thank them for helping me with my assignment. I'll also use the platform to acquire feedback by asking them what they considered the process and allow for recommendations. I'll on the other hand assure them that the info I collected would remain confidential, so they should not worry about their marks being used for other things apart from the completion of my assignment.


3. 1 Introduction

Key words: Academic, University Students, Stress, Performance

Stress is a common and inevitable component in the lives of every individual, no matter race or cultural background (Newth, 2011). Over the past few decades, there has been significant investigation on the issues of stress and management of stress (Dziegielewski, Turnage & RoestMarti, 2004). Furthermore, university students have shown to possess a distinctive set of stressors which can affect their everyday experience (Hall, 2005). The focus of this report is on stress and how it can affect academic performance. We've all experienced it. We are able to probably describe what it feels as though. But, just what is stress? (Newth 2011) makes use of his first complex definition that stress is "an applied force or systems forces that will strain or deform a body" and his easy to comprehend definition that reads "it is a sense of not being in charge". In essence stress could be described as the pressure or demands put after us and how we react to those pressures.

"The background to modern day stress issues appears to be more widespread than ever before and many of the reasons as to the reasons these exist are quite evident such as more work by less people, financial uncertainty, job insecurity, regular demands for high performance, the increase requirement of information, impossible targets, juggling part-time or full-time work and life/family priorities/children, health issues, the downsides of cyberspace and technology, time management, sleep deprivation, social activities, the depressing situation in many elements of the world and much more besides" (Newth: 11). He also adds that another reason suggested as we realize so much about the topic that some suggest it "encourages unhealthy circumspection" (Newth: 11). He further questions the theory by asking could these stress arise due to the fault of other folks on an individual.

Some of his results from the volunteers were:

When others set unrealistic deadlines for them

The state of the bedroom caused by others

People would you not call back again to convey information

Traffic on the way to work or school

Superior ignores them

Others chatting around when everyone is said to be busy

People who do not appear to care

Meetings that go on forever

People that hold up the lines at the check-out

Group members who do not do their part

These responses have proven that people directly or indirectly link their stressors to other folks. The one thing that lots of forget is that it's life, which is inevitable. There are certain things we simply cannot change. Another key aspect in the volunteers is that they are the ones who are definitely more stressed than which is not dealing well with it- in order to overcome it we need to be familiar with it and deal with the fact that it happened and you have to tolerate it to management it. (Newth, 2011) has stated that as demands are created on an individual or even as encounter situations, the body attempts to adjust or adapt to the situation in order to re-establish normality. Considering (Selye, 1974) he further suggests based on Newth's research that we now have some physiological reactions that occurs in response to demands. Some familiar health reactions to demands made on your body include increased heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and blood sugar level. These compensatory reactions eventually ensure the muscles and essential organs provide an ample supply of oxygen, energy and nutrients to handle the challenging situation (Selye, 1974). Furthermore, (Nathan, 2002) also states that prolonged and severe stress may be psychologically damaging in that it could hinder someone's ability to engage in effective behaviour and instead the individual might finish up distancing and worst case scenario- not engage or be present by any means. Another view of the result of pressure on the body was presented by Lazarus and Folkman (1984), for the reason that they say stress is greater than a reaction to environmental demands, but is also related to personal perception. If a person perceives a situation as stressful, then it is definitely stressful. All in all, when multiple demands are made on an individual, they often experience powerful feelings of stress (Dziegielewski et al. , 2004).

3. 2 Stresses related to Health Issues and Physical Conditions

There are also a number of health-related factors that can donate to a student's academic performance, and for that reason have an impact the student's GPA. The quantity of exercise, nutritional routines, as well as the amount of social support the student perceives all can donate to how a student academically performs (Hammer et al, 1998). Exercising too much or not at all can influence academic performance. Sacrificing time from your normal amount of study hours to work-out pulls away from grades. A frequent incident on university is students becoming almost addicted to exercise, turning a healthy behavior into the one which is psychologically unhealthy. In a study in 2000 Trockel, Barnes, and Egget found "That students who exercised seven or more hours weekly obtained significantly lower grades than students who exercised six or fewer hours weekly or not at all" (p. 126). Nutrition is also a problem with university students. Students may have a problem finding the time for you to cook sufficient meals. Most students are just learning to go on their own, and understanding how to cook can be considered a real challenge, given that many of them may have no experience in the kitchen. Finding time to visit the grocery store once weekly throughout your busy schedule ay university can prove to be a demanding task. Little storage space comes in the average dorm room, and food storage and hygiene facilities may well not be possible at all (Trockel et al, 2000).

3. 3 Stresses from Life Priorities

3. 3. 1 Employment as a Student

Many students have part-time or full-time employment and it has been proven that the more time spent at the job, the less time students spends studying. Having to maintain a job and still be a university student is a regular source of stress (Calderon, Hey, & Seabert, 2001). Also proven to be mentally strenuous is managing the two roles of workplace and university student can itself be stressful. Locating the the perfect time to work a full or in your free time job and take it as seriously, and also stand your guard and maintain give attention to academic studies can be perceived as stressful. Being exhausted from working the night time before can cause a poor attendance record and also provide a student less time to review, which ultimately brings about a poor academic performance.

3. 3. 2 Sleep Deprivation

My study takes into account previous research done in the area of sleep, not merely on university students but also on the overall population. Kelly, Kelly, and Clanton (2001) "classified sleepers into three categories. 1) Short sleepers, those who, when left to set their own schedule, slept six or fewer hours. 2) Average sleepers, individuals who slept seven or eight hours, and 3) long sleepers, those who slept nine or more hours out of twenty-four" (p. 84). The study established that people who were regarded as long sleepers reported higher GPAs.

One thing that my study will not take into account is that of some past research on sleep which suggests that people who sleep fewer hours a night may have psychological instability. Sleeping shorter amounts of time shows to increase factors such as anxiety and stress, which have been associated with academic performance (Kelly et al, 2001). These factors cause students problems by creating shortened attention span and also increasing the amount of errors students make on tests.

Another study took the hours of sleep correlation with GPA to another level by firmly taking factors into account like amount of sleep students gets on the weekends along with their amount of sleep through the week, as well as the common time a student gets up in the morning through the week, and waking-up time on the weekends. Trockel, Barnes, and Egget (2000) found that variables such as later weekday wake-up and later weekend wake-up times were associated with a lesser GPA. This study seems to take the research from previous study further, by asking questions specifically related to when the sleep is obtained and what time of the morning students wakes up.

3. 3. 3 Absence in Attendance and Participation

Another health-related factor that can influence student's GPA is class attendance. Attendance itself can be related to stress factors like insufficient sleep, job responsibility, illness and also having a family or children to look after. Getting a class at eight in the morning can be considered a significant problem for students who are deprived of sleep, moreover for those students who attend classes throughout the day and work at night.

Students who have children to look after can often end up being held out of class for reasons like their children being ill or not having the proper child care available. Grades, motivation and prior GPA may also be reasons for class attendance (Devadoss & Foltz, 1996). With attendance having a significant influence on academic performance, even to the idea of most lecturers using it as a requirement to pass a course, it is an important indicator of any student's overall obtained GPA. One major prediction of class attendance is a student's GPA prior to registering for the class. Students who've done better in previous courses are likely to attend classes more regularly than those opposite with their status. Other factors in class attendance include the degree of courses the student is taking. Normally, junior and senior level courses have a higher attendance record than freshman and sophomore courses (Devadoss & Foltz, 1996). One discovering that is contradictory to other studies is the fact students who work and are financially independent should and will attend classes and take their education more seriously. This may be the truth with students who pay more for their education themselves, as they will find lots of value in it, as that of a person who is not paying anything at all and takes the free education for granted or simply cannot give their dedication because of the driving principles.

3. 4 Conclusion

There are numerous factors that can cause stress and influence a student's academic performance and for that reason affect their overall GPA. The factors include exercise, nutrition, sleep, and work and class attendance. A university student could find him or herself in a hard balancing position, trying to support a family, taking care of job responsibilities, and simultaneously aiming to do their finest at their university career. Many of these factors can affect the marks of students, which in due course influences the rest of their lives.

All of the factors that contain been reviewed in the literature can donate to a university student's degree of stress.

By themselves these constraints may have no effect in any way on students, however when combined, students could perceive them as very stressful, and the stress factors could have a intense influence on a student's academic performance. With way too many stress factors present and with limited resources of hard work, students could easily become overwhelmed. What one student perceives as stressful might not be a factor of stress in any way for another student. The Perceived Stress Scale originated by Cohen and Mermeistein (as referenced above and in the journal of Calderon et al, 2001) to measure the amount of stress a person perceived during past semesters. The Perceived Stress Scale is a 14-item scale made to gauge the degree to which situations in one's life are evaluated as being stressful.

Some students may perceive factors such as nutrition, exercise sessions, sleep patterns, social activities, and work as stressors that they have to overcome to be able to achieve a higher academic performance standing. On the other hand, other students might not exactly perceive these life situations as factors of stress by any means. Stress itself has shown to be always a factor affecting a college or university student's GPA. Moreover what sort of student perceives his or her stress can regulate how much stress the student is in fact under.

3. 4. 1 Methodology and Hypothesize

I will rank students who has a high score on the Perceived Stress Scale as you that has experienced high levels of stress, and his or her GPA at that time should show that negative effect. The purpose of my research report is to ascertain if there is a negative correlation between perceived stress in confirmed semester and this semester's GPA. Perceived stress will be measured by the Perceived Stress Scale, and GPA by the grades obtained that semester (June 2012). I hypothesize a higher score on the Perceived Stress Scale producing a higher level of stress, the correlated GPA should be lower throughout that specific semester.





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