Perceived Stress in College Students: Prevalence, Sources, and Stress Reduction Activities

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The purpose of this study was to investigate levels of stress, causes of stress, and coping strategies among freshmen and senior college students. For this purpose, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) developed by Cohen, 1983 was used to help understand how different situations affect college students’ feelings and perceived stress. A convenience sample of 123 college students at a Southern California comprehensive university was used. Inferential Statistics, such as t-tests and Pearson correlations, were performed to test group independence and the relationship between variables. Although the findings of this study showed that freshmen college students reported more stress than senior college students, the perceived stress level difference was not statistically significant. Pearson correlation coefficients showed a weak positive relationship that was not statistically significant (r (121) = .003, p = .97). The findings suggested that academic and financial obligations are the largest stressors for college freshmen and senior students. Yoga, reading, training, smoking, and drinking are various coping mechanisms used by the sample in this study to handle stress. Findings of this study can be used to create better stress coping strategies for college students. Further research is needed to draw more reliable conclusions on perceived stress levels among college students.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Mental Health, Higher Education