Stress, Strain and Coping Mechanisms: An Experimental Study of Fresh College Students

By Baqutayan, Shadiya Mohamed S.; Mai, Moukhtar M. | Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Stress, Strain and Coping Mechanisms: An Experimental Study of Fresh College Students


Baqutayan, Shadiya Mohamed S., Mai, Moukhtar M., Academy of Educational Leadership Journal


INTRODUCTION

Stress is something that all of us experience from time to time but have difficulty defining it. Different ideas were given to explain the word stress. This ranges from simple physiological definition into more interpretative processes. Researchers proposed that the stress response is mediated by covert or overt cognitive appraisal of events, impinging on the individual that interprets same as either threatening or not; and concomitantly assesses the individual's ability to handle the stressor (Ronald & Jason, 1994). This paper is divided into six sections. Following this introduction is the theoretical framework and model. This is followed by the research design, research findings, discussion, and conclusion respectively.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Stress is a term that almost everybody from all walks of life knows and uses, yet understanding and assessing stress is a complex task. It is often loosely used to refer to any situation that evokes negative thoughts and feelings in a person. The same situation is not evocative or stressful for all people, and all people do not experience the same negative thoughts and feelings when stressed (Whitman, 1984).

Many people may not be aware that they are undergoing stress; few recognize that events such as pregnancy, retirement, marriage, death of a close family member, divorce, and writing exams or a number of smaller events, overload the adaptive system of the body, which causes high levels of stress (smith, 1999).

McGrath (1970) defined stress as a substantial imbalance between environmental demand and the response capability of the focal organism. Whereas, Kaplan (1983) defined stress as subject's inability to forestall diminish perception, recall, anticipation, and imagination of disvalued circumstances, those that in reality or fantasy signify great and/or increased distance from desirable (valued) experiential states, and consequently, evoke a need to approximate the valued states.

THEORETICAL MODEL

The person-environment model is useful in understanding stress among students. According to one variation of this model, an individual can appraise stressful events as "challenging" or "threatening" (Lazarus, 1966). When students judge their education as a challenge, stress can bring them a sense of competence and an increased capacity to learn. When education is seen as a threat, however, stress can elicit feelings of helplessness and a foreboding sense of loss.

College life can be very stressful in one way or the other. Generally, we idealize the college experience and remember it as that idyllic time when we had few worries or responsibilities. To students currently attending college, however, the process is often stressful and frustrating. The competition for grades, the need to perform, peer relationships, fear of failure, career choice, and many other aspects of the college environments are real life challenges that manifest as mental stress.

In one early attempt to define coping, Folkman and Lazarus (1980) suggested that coping is all the cognitive and behavioral efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate demands. It makes no difference whether the demands are imposed from the outside (e.g. by family, friend, job, school) or from inside (e.g. while wrestling with an emotional conflict or setting impossibly high standards). Coping seeks in some way to soften the impact of demands.

Lazarus and Folkman concentrated on two types of coping strategies: problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping. In the problem-focused coping, efforts are made to change the stressful situations through problem solving, decision-making and/or direct action. In emotion-focused coping, attempts are made to regulate distressing emotion, sometimes by changing the meaning of the stressful situation cognitively without actually changing the situation (Folkman & Lazarus, 1985).

Recent study done by Richaudde & Sacchi (2001) indicated that coping includes behavior and thoughts employed by the individual to manage the stressing situation.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Stress, Strain and Coping Mechanisms: An Experimental Study of Fresh College Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.