Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Managing College Stress: The Role of College Counselors

Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Managing College Stress: The Role of College Counselors

Article excerpt

Although the college experience affords students many opportunities for growth and personal enrichment, it also presents them with challenges that can lead to serious psychological distress and ultimately affect their overall health and well-being. As Pritchard, Wilson, and Yamnitz (2007) noted, the level of stress experienced by college students has grown significantly over the past 30 years. Highlighting this increase in stressful experiences, Sax (1997, 2003) found that the number of college students reporting that they felt "frequently overwhelmed" increased from 16% in 1985 to 27% in 2002. Although the number of stressors facing college students has increased in recent years, Steinhardt and Dolbier (2008) contended that the "exposure to these stressors coupled with students' developmental gaps in coping ability make this population particularly vulnerable to resultant psychological and physical health problems" (p. 445). The articles appearing in this issue of the Journal of College Counseling address the issue of the increased experience of psychological distress among college students by exploring a number of protective factors that might assist counselors in working with these challenged students in their daily practice.

In Research, Ruth Chu-Lien Chao examines the connection between stress and well-being by investigating the mediating effects of social support and dysfunctional coping style. Her findings underscore the importance of counselors working to help students build strong social support networks to buffer them from the stressful aspects of collegiate life. In the second article, Jonathan F. Mattanah and colleagues also examine the role of social support in enhancing the college experience. Their study examines the impact a social support intervention might have on perceived loneliness and academic achievement among college freshmen, a group often cited in the literature as being most at risk for student retention. In the next article, Michael T. Hartley examines the efficacy of using the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (Connor & Davidson, 2003) in a college student population. In his study, Hartley compares scores from both a general college student population and an assistance-seeking student population and provides some direction for how counselors might best use this instrument in their practice. …

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