Impact of Stress on Academic Performance of Students

The days of dress codes and even mandatory class attendance in the university are long gone.

But while freedom can be exciting and fun, it can also be stressful because no one is telling you what to do. One has to make a lot of decisions on his or her own whilst readjusting values and normal life. There are bound to be mistakes, but that is part of the process. Attending classes, completing the readings, writing papers, managing projects, and preparing for exams all put a heavy burden on students.Students often complain of professors who assign so much work hat they must think theirs is the only class students are taking. Students react to college in a variety of ways. For some students, college is stressful because it is an abrupt change from high school.

For fresher at the university, the sudden amount of free time; class that only meet one or two times a week for two hours or so; leads to the development of habits that can impair academic performance and increase stress levels.

For others, separation from home is a source of stress because for many students this is the first time they are living independently, and this independence often dads to great stress. University is a time for transitions, and the transition to adulthood may be a hard one. Some students have to come to terms with issues of sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and other deep issues. One may also face roommate issues and peer pressure to take part in all sorts of political and sporting activities. New friends are made and romantic relationships are started which also demand more of a student’s time.There is also the issue of one’s self-image; socially, physically, academically, and this can be a major source of stress.

Female students, especially, deal with stress elated to weight gain and physical appearance, but all students deal with the stress of how they are perceived. And sometimes it’s a vicious cycle; because some people are “stress eaters,” so while being stressed about their body they actually eat to deal with the stress. Although some stress is necessary for personal growth to occur, the amount of stress can overwhelm a student and affect the ability to cope.University life is more than just going to school and making the grades that one desires of himself or herself. The focus of this essay therefore is on stress and how it can affect academic performance. STATEMENT OF RESEARCH QUESTIONS In an attempt to research into the implications of stress on the academic performance of student, the following questions would help to better understand the concept of stress and academic performance. * What are the main causes of stress to students? * What are the implications of stress on academic performance of students? What mechanisms do students adopt to cope with stress? PURPOSE STATEMENT The overall intent of the study is to find out how stress levels affect the academic performance of University of Ghana students.

The purpose of this assay of is to offer such a definition and conceptualization of stress in the university in order to facilitate a greater understanding of this important phenomenon. Several propositions and methodological considerations would be suggested after the definition and conceptualization are presented.This essays perspective is one of understanding students’ stress as far as academic performance is concerned. Results will be made available at the library which will enable students to know how stress can affect their general academic performance. This will help them to put up measures that will help enhance their academic performance. Again, they will find the study useful in planning their personal time table and to-do-list. That is they will know how to structure their study tables and what activities to engage in to reduce stresses that negatively impacts their academic performance.

This essay will also serve as an additional literature on stress management and academic performance. Again, the research will serve as basis ; for further research by other students. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES The main objective of the study is to find whether stress has a positive or negative impact on academic performance of students. Specifically it seeks to; * Identify the main causes of stress to students. * Identify the implications of stress on academic performance of students * Examine the measures that must be put in place to manage the stress of students.JUSTIFICATION OF STUDY Chaplain and Harrison (1982) use stress in negative contexts to refer to any of the following technical concepts: objective misfit, subjective misfit, variable in the objective environment which is presumed to pose a threat to a person and a variable in the subjective environment which the person perceives as threatening. Edwards (1988) views stress as a “negative discrepancy between an individual’s perceived state and desired state, provided that the presence of this discrepancy is considered important by the individual.

Consequently, students perceive stress in this negative context; having a negative impact on their academic performance. However, studies by Sells (1974) maintained that, stress is “not an entirely bad event”. What stress is according to Sells, is a non specific response of the body to any demand on the individual for readjustment or adoption. That is, any kind of normal activity can produce inconsiderable stress without causing any harmful effects. Based on the above varying views, this study seeks to establish whether stress impacts negatively or positively on student academic performance.ORGANIZATION OF STUDY Chapter one would include the study background of the research. This chapter would deal with the introduction of the introduction of the essay, research questions, definition of key concepts, significance of the study, and justification of the study as well as organization of the study.

Chapter one would give an overview of the problem under study and would specify what he research aims to accomplish at the end of the study. Chapter two would cover literature review, theoretical and conceptual frameworks.In this chapter the researcher would review similar works done by other researchers. Various theories put forward by other researchers would be considered to reveal the level of research conducted on this subject. Literature review, theoretical and conceptual frameworks are essential in the research because it provides an idea about the research topic. Hypotheses would be made to predict the outcome of the study. This study would provide n in – depth knowledge about the problem.

Chapter three would contain data collection methods. Here, the procedures to be employed in data collection would be made known.It would consist of the research setting, the group of participants to be used, sampling techniques, and the instruments of analysis that the researcher intends to use. Inclusive in this chapter would be the field work; where the researcher would conduct a survey to collect data from the target population. This chapter would also contain the experiences and challenges the researcher would go through while collecting the data. Chapter four covers data analysis and interpretation Here the survey results would be discussed and analyses.The data collected would be interpreted with the use of tables, charts and graphs.

These would be explained to give readers a clear understanding of the study. Chapter five contains the study conclusions and recommendation. In the conclusions and recommendations chapter, the researcher would assess the work to see if all research questions were answered and set objectives were accomplished. Suggestions would also be made on the way forward in relation to the problem. DEFINITION OF CONCEPT The concepts that require definitions in this study are; Stress and academic performance Operational Definition of Stress.Stress is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing surroundings. It has physical and emotional effects on us and can make good or bad feelings.

As a good influence, stress can help motivate us to do something, or help us through the day. As a bad influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression (overall, make you feel really crappy), which in turn can lead to health problems such s headaches, upset stomachs, rashes, insomnia, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.With the death of a loved one, the birth of a child, a job promotion (or demotion), or a new relationship, we experience stress as we change our lives to cater to this. In so adjusting to different circumstances, stress will help or hurt us depending on how we react to it. The circumstances that cause stress are called stresses. Stresses vary in harshness and duration. For example, the responsibility of caring for a sick parent may be an ongoing source of major stress, whereas getting stuck in a raffia jam may cause mild, short-term stress.

Some events, such as the death of a loved one, are stressful for everyone. But in other situations, individuals may respond differently to the same event what a stresses is for one person may not be stresses for another. For example, a student who is unprepared for a social psychology test and anticipates a bad grade may feel stress; on the other hand a classmate who studied may feel confident and anticipate a good grade. For an event or situation to be a stresses for a particular individual, the person must appraise the situation as threatening and lack the opining resources to deal with it effectively.In dealing with stress, coping mechanisms such humor, meditation, massage therapy, regular relaxation, and time management may be employed. As one has seen, positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and we all thrive under a certain amount of stress. Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and even our frustrations and sorrows add depth and enrichment to our lives.

For the purpose Of this study however, stress is defined as “Our response to events that disrupt or threaten to disrupt our physical or psychological functioning’ Lazarus & Folkway, 1984).These responses include anxiety, fear, irritability, inability to concentrate and a variety of physical conditions that include headaches and a fast heartbeat (www. Excite. Com). Operational Definition of Academic performance In educational institutions, success is measured by academic performance, or how well a student meets standards set out by local government and the institution itself. In relation to this study academic performance is the increase or decrease in the cumulative grade point average (CAP) of students.

Bill Carlson

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