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Work and College Students: The Impact of Stress

Factors on Academic Performance


This paper examined the effect of both time spent studying and time spent working on academic performance. Stress, Procrastination, Detachment from the University General Self-Efficacy and Social Activity were measured using five scales. The participants for this study include 217 college students enrolled in the Southeastern University in the U.S. During scheduled class period, students were asked to voluntarily complete survey packet consisting for five survey instruments and a background information form. The data was analyzed using a structural equation model. The results show a positive relationship between time spent studying and overall grade point average (OGPA). The number of hours worked per week was also found to be positively related to academic performance. However, stress was found to be negatively related to academic performance. But no significant relationship was found between hours of sleep per night and academic performance. Keywords: stress, academic performance, sleep, OGPA

It is a commonly held view that a positive relationship exists between time spent studying and academic performance. The general expectation is that students who spend plenty of time studying per week will have better grades than those who spend less time studying outside of class. However, it is not always acknowledged that some students may just be naturally gifted and therefore do not require much time studying as their peers. Nonis and Hudson (2006) reported that research is lacking in this area because of the complications of evaluating these relationships in the presence of other variables such as motivation and student ability.

The purpose of this study is to survey the literature and to investigate and confirm factors that influence student academic performance. I began this study by trying to establish the relationship between time spent studying outside of class and the academic performance among college students. Second, I attempted to determine whether there is a significant relationship between stress and academic performance as well as time spent studying. Finally, I attempted to determine the relationship between amount of sleep per night and academic performance. According to Caldwell, Harrison, Adams, Quin, and Greeson (2010), biological, cognitive, and/or behavioral are all examples of several factors that can cause sleep disturbance. “Sleep problems have been associated with deficits in attention and academic performance,6 drowsy driving,7 risk-taking behavior and depression,8 impaired social relationships,9 and poorer health” (Gaultney, 2010). Some students may be sleep deprived due to lack of time management and being too involved in on and off campus activities.

Literature Review

Theoretical Framework

Most studies on paid employment of students have investigated the effect of work on academic performance. Miller, Danner, and Staten (2008) reported that approximately 57% of students work full or part time. They also found that binge drinking, less sleep, and lower academic performance were significantly related to working greater than or equal to 20 hours per week. Working while in college is not bad; in fact, studies have shown that working while in college may actually help students to develop time-management skills and independence. It also helps students acquire skills that could be used upon graduating from college (Miller, Danner, and Staten, 2008). In a similar study conducted by Hood, Craig, and Ferguson (1992), they found that reasonable amount of work may actually be related to higher academic performance. However, working too many hours (20 or more per week) while in school could negatively affect students’ academic performance as well as increase level of stress. Students who work while in school are also less likely to be involved in on campus...
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