Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Coping Self-Efficacy and Academic Stress among Hispanic First-Year College Students: The Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence

Academic journal article Journal of College Counseling

Coping Self-Efficacy and Academic Stress among Hispanic First-Year College Students: The Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence

Article excerpt

In this study, the authors examined the role that emotional intelligence plays in moderating the relationship between academic stress and coping self-efficacy among a sample of 125 Hispanic 1st-year college students enrolled at a medium-size, southern Hispanic-serving institution. Results of a 2-stage hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that emotional intelligence was a significant moderator in the relationship for the students surveyed. Implications for counseling Hispanic 1st-year college students and directions for future research are suggested.

Keywords: Hispanic students, emotional intelligence, academic stress


The number of individuals seeking to further their education is greater than it has been at any point. Between 2002 and 2012, enrollment in all degree-granting institutions rose 24% from 16.6 million to 20.6 million (Snyder & Dillow, 2015). Contributing to this growth is the increasing number of Hispanic students who enroll in college. According to Krogstad (2015), Hispanic student enrollment at all degree-granting institutions grew 201% between 1993 and 2013. By comparison, college enrollment increased by 78% among African American students and 14% among European American students over the same time period. In 2012, for the first time ever, a greater share of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college than did European American high school graduates (49% to 47%). At a current enrollment of over 2.5 million across 2-year and 4-year institutions nationwide, Hispanic students have become the most represented minority group on college campuses (Fry & Taylor, 2013).

Despite increasing enrollment numbers, Hispanic students continue to underachieve academically. In addition, a significant number of Hispanic students beginning postsecondary education will not graduate, indicating that degree attainment remains a challenge. Among Hispanic students, the 6-year graduation rate is noticeably lower than the national average (51.9% compared with 59.2%, respectively; Snyder & Dillow, 2015). In 2013, only 15% of Hispanics between the ages of 25 and 29 reported having a bachelor's degree or higher compared with 20% of African American, 40% of European American, and 60% of Asian American students (Krogstad, 2015). Degree persistence is especially problematic among male Hispanic students, a group that collectively accounts for less than 40% of all associate's and bachelor's degrees earned by Hispanic students (Saenz & Ponjuan, 2009). Because graduation from college has been shown to correlate with numerous positive financial and societal outcomes (Baum & Ma, 2007), facilitating the academic success of Hispanic students will increasingly become a task falling under the purview of college counselors on campuses nationwide.

A number of characteristics, experiences, and behaviors associated with Hispanic students' success in college and degree attainment have been identified by previous researchers (see reviews by Nora & Crisp, 2012, and Pyne & Means, 2013). One factor that shows consistent predictability is college readiness. One of the most educationally disadvantaged groups in the country, Hispanic students are frequently cited as lagging behind their peers from other racial/ethnic groups in terms of college readiness. According to an ACT (2014) report, 47% of all Hispanic college-bound high school seniors failed to meet any of the four ACT college readiness benchmarks. Additionally, Hispanic students are less likely to enroll in advanced classes or complete a rigorous curriculum as part of their secondary education (Cates & Schaefle, 2011). For many Hispanic students, these academic shortcomings precipitate feelings of anxiety and academic stress. Although some academic stress is normal for all college students, too much stress taxes students' coping abilities and negatively affects academic performance. In light of the sparse research examining the relationship between academic stresses and coping among Hispanic college students, we conducted the present study. …

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