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Student Stress Reaction Styles': The Effects Of Stress Appraisal, Control Perceptions And Personality

Academic study can present many stressful situations. An adaptive coping style is one of the essential factors for university students to cope effectively with stressors in their lives, allowing for an effective level of performance while protecting from stress related side effects. Previous research has identified the relationship between stressful life events and the onset of illness. This current study extends on previous research and identifies dispositional factors and stressors specific to social interactions and educational settings and their resulting impact on student coping. This study explored the somewhat controversial concept of 'coping styles' by investigating a comprehensive model of coping that included two stressors (workload related demands and a social interaction), stressor appraisal, dispositional resources, the situational resources of perceived control and perceived levels of coping effectiveness. An online questionnaire was completed by 257 participants from seven major universities around New Zealand. Problem-solving coping was positively correlated with perceived levels of coping effectiveness while avoidance coping was negatively correlated with coping effectiveness. The traits of neuroticism and conscientiousness appeared to predispose individuals to cope in predictable ways across situations when confronting adversity, lending support for the notion of coping styles. Results of the moderated regression analyses found that neuroticism and conscientiousness were significant moderators between stressor appraisal and coping behaviours used. The major implications from this research are that educational institutes need to offer on campus services that can support and educate students regarding their tendencies to engage in maladaptive and adaptive coping behaviours and under what circumstances trigger the use of maladaptive coping behaviours. Assistance could be tailored specifically to each individual and their likely coping responses chosen, by including a measure of personality. In the final chapter, conclusions are discussed with regard to implications of this research to educational institutes, students and the need for future research.
Type of thesis
de France, M. A. (2009). Student Stress Reaction Styles’: The Effects Of Stress Appraisal, Control Perceptions And Personality (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2770
The University of Waikato
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