Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Second Advisor

Lenore S. Brantley

Third Advisor

Nancy J. Carbonell

Abstract

Problem. Past research provides limited information on stress among college students. A significant number of undergraduate students find their college experience very stressful. This present study was to investigate the frequency and severity of stressors among undergraduate students according to class, gender, race, major, living status, student status, work status, and religion.

Method. The subjects for this study were 420 undergraduate students attending Grand Valley State University.A brief demographic questionnaire was utilized, followed by the Undergraduate Stress Questionnaire (USQ). Chi-square, one-way ANOVA, and t-test analyses were used to analyze the relationship of class, gender, race, major, living status, student status, work status, and religion of the 83 potential sources of stress.

Results. The present study showed that freshman students reported significantly more frequent and severe occurrence of stress than sophomore, junior, and senior students. The males in this study reported significantly more frequent occurrence of stress, whereas females expressed greater severity of stressors. African American students experienced significantly greater frequency and severity of stressors than did Anglo American and "Other" students. It was found that students who live off campus reported more frequent and severe stressors than students who live on campus.

Conclusions. Major differences in frequency and severity of stress do exist among class, gender, race, and living status. However, there were minor differences in frequency and severity of stress for students among declared major, student status, work status, and religion. According to this study, freshman students experience greater frequency and severity of stress than the other class groups, which may be due to adjustment issues. Unlike previous studies, the males in this study reported more frequent stress; however, females experienced greater severity of stress. The greater frequency and severity of stressors experienced by African American students, compared to Anglo American and "Other" students in this study, may be due to social, cultural, and environmental factors. More empirical research, however, is needed to clarify the relationship between stress and ethnicity. Students who live off campus reported greater frequency and severity of stress, which may be attributable to commuting concerns.

Subject Area

College students--Psychology, Stress in youth

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