Stress and Academic Performance

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Rafidah Kamarudin1, Azizah Aris2 and Nor aini Ibrahim3

1Academy of Language Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA Negeri Sembilan 2Faculty of Information Technology and Quantitative Science, Universiti Teknologi MARA Johor 3Faculty of Information Technology and Quantitative Science, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, MALAYSIA


The present study is carried out to find out if there is any significant difference in the level of perceived stress among the students at the beginning, middle and end of the semester. We would also like to find out whether there is a correlation between the students’ level of perceived stress at the three different periods (beginning, middle, end of semester) on their academic performance. The final objective is to determine the possible stress factors that the students perceived may contribute to their academic performance and the association between academic performance and stress factors. A total of 242 Pre-Diploma Science students in June-Nov 05 intake at UiTM Negeri Sembilan involved in the study. Besides descriptive statistics like percentages, a chi- square test, a Wilcoxon Sign Rank test, and Spearman Rank correlation were also used to analyze the data. The results showed that students did experience stress but at a moderate level. There was a significant difference between the level of perceived stress at the beginning and middle of semester but no significant different between the level of perceived stress at the middle and end of the semester. We also found out that there was no correlation between the level of perceived stress at the beginning and middle semester with the students’ academic performance but there was a significant correlation between the level of perceived stress at the end of semester and students’ academic performance. Majority of the students reported of not getting enough sleep and nutrition problem throughout the semester. However, results shows that none of the stress factors discussed affected the students’ academic performance.

Keywords: Perceived stress, Stress Factors, Academic Factors, Academic performance 1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the study

Learning and memory can be affected by stress. Although an optimal level of stress can enhance learning ability (Kaplan & Sadock, 2000), too much stress can cause physical and mental health problems (Niemi & Vainiomaki, 1999), reduce students’ self esteem (Linn & Zeppa, 1984; Silver & Glicken, 1990) and may affect students’ academic achievement.

1.2 Problem Statement

University students have many obstacles to overcome in order to achieve optimal academic performance. A number of researches have been done looking at the correlation of many stress factors that university students experience and the effects of stress on their GPA (Hatcher and Prus, 1991; Hammer, Grigsby and Woods, 1998; Trockel, Barnes and Egget, 2000; Calderon, Hey and Seabert, 2001; Kelly, Kelly and Clanton, 2001).

However, a review of literature indicates that not much have been prioritized on the stress-related

research. Moreover, majority of the investigation has taken place in the United States of America (USA) and the emphasis was placed more on the students in the medical field. The researchers have found out that there is not much research conducted in our local universities particularly in the Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) itself pertaining to this issue.

Therefore, it is timely to conduct a research to examine this particular issue as findings from the present study would benefit various parties in the university especially the Students Affair Division (HEP) and the Academic Affair Division (HEA) in planning and conducting necessary programmes for the students so that stress-related factors could be reduced and better academic performance could be achieved by the students.

Objectives of...
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