Academic stress and coping strategies among North-West University post-graduate students
Problem: Attending University and embarking on an academic career can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. As a response to stressful situations, and to deal with stress, students often find themselves in search of different coping strategies. However, the nature and extent of the relationship between academic stress and coping strategies are complex due to the significant difference in the way that post-graduate students deal with and respond to academic stress or stressful situations as compared to other students or individuals. In the academic environment, much emphasis is placed on the acquisition of knowledge and students’ academic performance, while neglecting the experience of stress, emotions, and feelings of the post-graduate students as they learn. Research on post-graduate samples is limited with the core findings reflecting higher stress levels and the use of more adaptive coping strategies such as emotional and social support, cognitive restructuring, acceptance, religion, and venting. Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between academic stress and coping strategies among North-West University post-graduate students. Method: Using a quantitative, descriptive correlational survey research design, 365 postgraduate respondents (116 males and 249 females) were conveniently sampled to participate in the study. The age of the respondents ranged between 20 to 60 years and older. A self-administered survey was used to collect data from the respondents. Section A focused on the demographic characteristics of the respondents, section B focused on the Academic Stress Scale, and section C was based on the BRIEF-Cope Inventory. Standard multiple regression, descriptive, and inferential analysis using SPSS was performed to test the two hypotheses. Results: The post-graduate students answered the research survey and stated that they experienced different affective, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms caused by academic stress. The findings of the study highlighted the various coping strategies employed by post-graduate students at the university. It was noted that most post-graduate students used problem-focused coping strategies as compared to emotion-focused coping strategies. It was concluded that there is a significant relationship between academic stress and coping strategies among North-West University post-graduate students. Thus, there is a need to formulate and implement intervention programs to enhance academic stress awareness and strategies to help post-graduate students manage and cope with academic stress.
- Health Sciences