Stress as a Precursor of Health Problems of College Students

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STRESS AS A PRECURSOR OF HEALTH PROBLEMS OF COLLEGE STUDENTS

Submitted by:
Del Rosario, J. Anne Nicole D.
Garcia, Jose Mari B.
Yu, Mark Rainier C.S.

2 – BIO 6

September 26, 2011

Thesis Statement: College students who are exposed to extreme stress encounter several health risks.

Outline:

I. Introduction
A. Background
B. Thesis Statement
II. Health Problems of College Students Caused by Stress
A. Insomnia
1. Causes
2. Effects
B. Obesity
1. Causes
2. Effects
C. Ulcers
1. Causes
2. Effects
III. Preventive Measures for Stress-Induced Diseases
A. For Insomnia
B. For Weight Gain
C. For Ulcers
D. For Stress in General
IV. Conclusion
V. References

I. Introduction

Beginning one’s college education means that one is expected to explore much more complex problems and issues than any student has ever encountered. Peer pressure, homework, projects, long exams, quizzes, environmental change, group activities, financial problems, and even parents are just a few things that cause college students to experience what we call stress.

What is stress? Why is it considered as one of the major problems that students nowadays inevitably deal with? Stress is defined as a physical and psychological reaction to issues and events emanating from one’s environment. It is defined either as a stimulus, a response, or an interaction.

Hans Selye, who focused on the environmental condition that produced stress, defined stress as a response with the stressor being the stimulus and stress as a response. Selye therefore considered stress as a general physical response caused by any of a number of environmental stressors.

Richard Lazarus stated that humans encounter stresses because they have high-level cognitive abilities that other animals lack. Lazarus and Susan Folkman defined stress as a “particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being” (1984, p. 19).

College students, especially freshmen, are a group particularly prone to stress (D'Zurilla & Sheedy, 1991) due to the transitional nature of college life (Towbes & Cohen, 1996). Freshmen experience environmental changes like being away from their family, adjusting to the new environment of the school, and maintaining academic status.

College students who are exposed to extreme stress encounter several health risks. According to Brannon and Feist (2010), disease is caused by many factors, and stress may be one of those factors. The amount of stress experienced may influence the individual’s ability to effectively handle or cope with certain problems or issues. If stress is not effectively handled then certain diseases and health problems might occur.

Researches regarding adolescents attending universities explained that higher levels of stress increase the risk for mental health problems of that particular age group. Both genders experience levels of stress, but surprisingly, males reported more stress than females.

The American College Health Association (ACHA) National College Health Assessment provides data related to stress and its effects as reported by all types of postsecondary institution students. The ACHA's (2009) most recent report indicated that students (n = 80,121) ranked stress as the highest health impediment (33.9%), with sleep difficulties (25.6%) and depression/anxiety (16.1%) high on the list as well (Ahern & Norris).

The purpose of this research is to be able to study some diseases caused by stress and to be able to recommend solutions to overcome stress and prevent disease.

II. Health Problems of College Students Caused by Stress

A. Insomnia

Insomnia is defined as the inability to initiate or maintain healthy...
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