Academic journal article College Student Journal

Factors Contributing to Perceived Stress among Doctor of Pharmacy (PHARMD) Students

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Factors Contributing to Perceived Stress among Doctor of Pharmacy (PHARMD) Students

Article excerpt

Objective: The purpose of this study was to report on perceived stress levels, identify its contributing factors, and evaluate the association between perceived stress and usage of university resources to cope with stress among a cross-section of Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students.

Methods: Perceived stress was measured via a web-based survey of PharmD students. A multiple linear regression was used to assess whether perceived stress was related to students' classification, academic workload, social support, outside employment, and extracurricular activities.

Results: Survey was completed by 306 students. A majority (69.9%) reported feeling stressed 'fairly' or 'very' often. Students' classification and academic workload were significantly related to perceived stress (p<0.001); however, the relationship between perceived stress and the use of campus resources to cope with stress were not significant (p=0.349).

Conclusion: High levels of perceived stress were found among PharmD students, which were mostly related to academic workload. Future research should investigate whether perceived stress is related to educational outcomes.

Keywords: PharmD students, perceived stress, coping strategies


Stress among college students is a growing public health concern. According to a recent national survey by the American College Health Association, 42.8% of college students reported "more than average stress" or "tremendous stress" within the last 12 months, with another 28.4% of the students reporting that stress affected their academic performance (American College Health Association, 2013). Research suggests that factors unique to the college environment such as academic strain, perceived social norms, cultural differences, improper course management, transitional periods due to distance from family and support networks, employment, and other normative experiences associated with the college environment play a role in increasing stress among college students (Stecker, 2004).

While some stress may serve as positive and beneficial motivation for students, enabling them to work harder or to achieve a goal (Baum, 1990), students often experience undesirable outcomes when their stress levels exceed their ability to cope. In turn, this may result in negative physical and mental health consequences, such as feelings of anxiety, exhaustion, and depression (Aycock, 2011; E. Chang, F. Eddins-Folensbee, & J. Coverdale, 2012; Jungbluth, Macfarlane, Veach, & Leroy, 2011; Siqueira Drake, Hafen, Rush, & Reisbig, 2012; Wei & Sha, 2003). Also, extreme psychological stress can precipitate risk for more severe psychological disorders (e.g., depression) (Bartolomucci & Leopardi, 2009), as well as negative health-compromising risk behaviors such as use of alcohol and tobacco (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012).

Within the college environment, research indicates that students enrolled in advanced health professional programs, such as in medicine, nursing, dental, and pharmacy, appear to be at greater risks for the negative consequences associated with stress (Dutta, Pyles, & Miederhoff, 2005). Although stress can be a major problem for all students enrolled in rigorous, time-consuming and demanding health professional programs, the majority of stress-related research has targeted dental, medical and nursing students (Fonseca et al., 2013; Harikiran, Srinagesh, Nagesh, & Sajudeen, 2012; Kumar et al., 2009; Manolova et al., 2012; Murdock, Naber, & Perlow, 2010; Neveu et al., 2012; Pau et al., 2007; Pereira & Barbosa, 2013; Polychronopoulou & Divaris, 2009, 2010; Sedky, 2012; Seyedfatemi, Tafreshi, & Hagani, 2007; Sreeramareddy et al., 2007; Tangade, Mathur, Gupta, & Chaudhary, 2011; Tempski et al., 2012). In contrast, only a very few stress-related research with students in Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) programs have been published (Canales-Gonzales & Kranz, 2008; Frick, Frick, Coffman, & Dey, 2011; Gupchup, Borrego, & Konduri, 2004; Hirsch, Do, Hollenbach, Manoguerra, & Adler, 2009; Marshall, Allison, Nykamp, & Lanke, 2008; Maynor, 2012). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.