A Theoretical Model Investigating the Ability of Perfectionism, Organisation, Self-Efficacy, Financial State and Efficiency in Predicting Stress Within Students.

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A Theoretical Model investigating the ability of perfectionism, organisation, self-efficacy, financial state and efficiency in predicting stress within students.

Abstract:
This was a cross-sectional study that investigated the phenomenon of stress within students. The study investigated five factors; perfectionism, organisation, self-efficacy, financial state and efficiency, to determine whether they were potential predictors of stress. The study was completed through an online survey with a sample of 51 students. An overall significant result was found, showing the variables together to be a predictor in stress. However, perfectionism was the only variable found to be significant in predicting stress alone.

Introduction:
Stress is a phenomenon that affects us cognitively and physiologically. By definition, stress is any uncomfortable “emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes.” (Baum, A. 1990). Some stress can be beneficial to us, providing us with the energy to deal with particular situations. However, excessive levels of stress can have detrimental effects on our health.

When looking at the impacts of stress, there are many approaches, which offer explanations. One comes from Lazarus , R. (1984) in his Cognitive Appraisal model (CAM), which shows that stress is not only a result of external stimuli but also dependent on individual’s perceptions of the stressor and their ability to cope.

A similar model was put forward by Selye, H. (1936) to describe the biological impact of stress through a General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). This model also has three phases, demonstrating that if the body is in a state of arousal for too long, it becomes incapable of providing constant energy and can negatively impact the immune, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine and central nervous systems (Anderson, N.B. 1998).

The present research aimed to look at a selection of personality traits and how they affect stress independently and combined. The predictor variables included: perfectionism, organisation, self-efficacy, perceived financial state, and efficiency.

The role of perfectionism has previously been found to have particularly strong impact in determining stress. Nilsson, J. (2008) looked into the link between perfectionism and stress in Asian students, finding that perfection accounted for 50% of the variance in stress, being a significantly large proportion (Cohen, J.1988). Organisation has repeatedly been claimed to reduce levels of stress (Anderson, L.E 2011). Many self-help websites have been put in place, such as, medicine.net (Stoppler, M. 2011), where free advice is offered to improve organization skills with the aim to reduce stress.

Previous research has demonstrated that higher levels of self-efficacy can lower stress. Swazatsky, R, G. (2012) found a substantial portion of the relationship between self-efficacy and stress to be mediated through students perceived ability to recognize and manage stress. These results coincided with the findings other researchers such as Bandura, A. (1982) and Jerusalem, M. (1992).

Bailey et al. (1998) conducted a study, which found that financial state accounted for 50% of participants’ overall stress. This being a significantly large percentage, (Cohen, J. 1988), perceived financial state was deemed key as a predictor variable.

Efficiency is a broad topic, for this model it was concentrated on as productivity in relation to work. Lohr L. et al. (2007) put forward that lack of perceived efficiency could result in considerably high levels of stress. This is further supported by Tennant, C. (2001) who investigated a similar model to the present study, finding that among others, efficiency, and financial state effected levels of work related stress. The present study felt the previous literature found for these variables gave suitable reason to investigate them as potential predictors of stress. Method:...
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