The Effect of Stress on University Students

Topics: Stress, Anxiety, Metabolic syndrome Pages: 28 (8927 words) Published: July 13, 2011
Background of the study
There have been many studies (Schafer, 1996; Fisher, 1994; Altmaier, 1983; Greenberg & Valletutti, 1980), which have reported strong relationship between stress and university students. Some individuals are more sensitive to some stressors than others; so, the person’s characteristics and behavior patterns must be looked at to determine their importance and their vulnerability to stress. The experience of stress in humans is universal, but there are also marked individual differences in how stress is experienced. Stress has been known “to be the fuel the body uses to meet the challenges of our fast-paced modern life; for others, it is the aversive by-product of such a life” (Altmaier, 1983, p. 4). Stress has been associated with major life events, daily life hassles, and changes in life. Stress is created by excessive environmental and internal demands that need constant effort and adjustment. Many first year undergraduate students undergo considerable stress due to the demands associated with change: leaving home, becoming independent decision makers, and competing against new standards (Altmaier, 1983. demands, expectations, and stress (Nelson, Dell’ Oliver, Koch, & Buckler, 2001). Stress can affect a student’s grades, health, and personal adjustment. How students perceive the immediate environment, their personal lives, and tasks confronting them serves to define, in a unique manner, people and events as potentially dangerous or relatively innocuous (Roberts & White, 1989) Stress can cause us significant problem. Stress releases powerful neuron- chemicals and hormones that prepare us for action (to fight or flee). If we do not take action, the stress responses can lead to health problems. Prolonged, uninterrupted, unexpected, and unmanageable stresses are the most damaging types of stress situation (Camille Worthman&Loftus, 1992).It is impossible ,to live without some stress. Most of us would not want to, because it gives life some spice and excitement. But if stress gets out of control, it may harm your health, your relationships, and your enjoyment of life. In addition, academic, social/environmental, and personality factors may contribute to adjustment to university life. According to Russell & Petrie (1992) the adjustment of first year university students can be organized according to three factors: academic performance, social adjustment, and personal adjustment. This transition presents even more challenge to the international student. This is due to the additional adjustment required to a new environment, culture and language. While international students struggle to keep up with their course loads, they are also trying to adapt to a foreign culture (Lee & Salamon, 2004). In addition, many arrive expecting to share their classes with a homogenous Ghanaian cohort and, instead, are surprised to find an ethnically diverse student population. For the first year students, many of them are for the first time becoming independent, whereas the matured students many are parents who have not taken to any serious academic work for many years. Many of first years have inadequate information and knowledge about the academic and social life of the institution they find themselves in (Willey & Andrew, 1995).

Statement of the Problem
The purpose of this study is to review some of the common stressors reported by University of Cape Coast students’ especially first year undergraduate students, understanding of the various types of stress that can occur in first year undergraduate students. What causes stress and how these stress related problems affect first year students is a matter of concern which has necessitated this study? Purpose of study

The purpose of the study is to; Gain further understanding of the stressors that affect first year students and to find out whether first year male and female students face the same stress situation....
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