Analysis of the Student-life Stress Inventory, SSI-R, with 601 students showed that the inventory was a reliable and valid instrument for measuring students' stressors and reactions to stressors. The SSI-R has 53 items grouped under nine categories and two sections (Stressors and Reactions to Stressors). The internal consistency for the total SSI-R was .93 and test-retest reliability coefficients ranged from .46 to .76. Significant differences were found among the three stress level groups on all categories and total stress score. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that variables contributed to their respective latent variables. Scores on the SSI-R categories correlated positively with scores on the Test Anxiety, State-Trait Anxiety, and Beck Depression Inventory scores, respectively. Other studies should be conducted to determine if there are differences between participants who score mild versus severe stress on various activities and learning processes.
At one time or another, everyone experiences some stress. Stress may be a different kind of and/or at different levels. Selye (1974) defined stress as the non-specific response of the body to demands made on it. He described stress as distress and eustress. The distress has negative effects but eustress has positive effects on humans. Some researchers refer to stressors as hassles (Lazarus & Folkman, (1984) or mild and severe (Gadzella, 1991). The mild stress would be equivalent to Selye's eustress and the severe stress to his distress.
The study of stress, its effects, and how to cope with it, is of concern to psychologists, counselors, educators, students, and common people in general. To combat stress, it is important to first recognize and admit that one is experiencing it, to understand what effects it has, and know how to cope and/or reduce the stressful experiences.
Theorists point out that the effects of stress are not entirely negative. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000), stated that researchers had devoted too much time to the weaknesses and harmful effects of stress and had neglected to explore the effects of stress which can make life worth living. Folkman and Mosknvitz (2000) also drew attention to the favorable outcomes of stressful experiences. Other researchers (e.g., Tedescki, Park, & Calhoun, 1998) felt that stress may promote personal growth, assist people in developing new skills, reevaluate priorities, and acquire new strengths. Sutherland (2000) summed it up indicating that most people would prefer some stimulation (caused by stress) rather than live a boring stress-free existence. Stated differently, stressful situations may lead to personal changes which might be beneficial to individuals. That is, it can improve one's coping skills and enable one to learn from one's mistakes (Calhoun & Tedescki, 2001). This type of stress may be referred to as mild or eustress as described by Selye (1974).
Over the years, researchers (Holmes & Rahe, 1967; Scheier & Carver, 1985) developed questionnaires to assist people in understanding their stressful experiences. Other researchers such as (Sarason, Johnson and Siegel (1978) studied stress and its relationships with various experiences. One inventory, Student-life Stress Inventory, SSI (Gadzella, 1991; Gadzella & Baloglu, 2001) assesses students' stress levels and assists students in understanding the different kind of stressors and reactions to stressors they might experience. Numerous studies have been conducted with the SSI (e.g., Gadzella, 1994; Gadzella & Baloglu, 2001; Gadzella & Guthrie, 1993; Gadzella & Fullwood, 1992; Gadzella, Ginther, & Fullwood, 1993; Misra & Castillo, 2004; Misra, MeKan, Russo, & West, 2000; Marzeth & Farileh, 2004) showing significant differences among students with different overall stress levels and their responses to the SSI. Other studies (e.g., Ming-Hui, 2005; Gadzella & Stephen, 2007; Gadzella & Marrs, 2007; Gadzella, Zascavage, Masten, Young, Stephens, & Pierce, 2007) showed differences among student stress level groups and academic performance. …