A Study on Stress Level and Coping Strategies among Undergraduate Students

Feelings of stress are a part of university students’ life. Stress is simply the body's response to changes that create taxing demands. There is a difference between eustress, which is a term for positive stress, and distress, which refers to negative stress. Coping mechanism plays

Many people around the world experience stress irrespective of their age, race, religion, colour, profession, academic background or surrounding environment (Esia-Donkoh, Yelkpieri Esia-Donkoh, 2011). A study by Anspaugh, Hamrick and Rosato (2003) opined that stress comes in different forms and affects different types of people at different ages and walks of life. Environmental and personal events that cause stress are known as stressors. Different people perceive and react to stressors differently from other people. Stress has become part and parcel of life and it is unavoidable. It is known that life itself is stress related dependent on the individual’s lifestyle and the type of their cultural
In general, there are two categories of stress; eustress and distress. Eustress is a positive stress that motivates an individual to continue to work. This good stress encourages and facilitates learning where an ideal level of stress can boost learning ability (Yusoff, 2010). On the other hand, distress is a negative stress which occurs when the good stress becomes too much to handle. This negative stress prevents and suppresses learning and must be stopped and avoided.
Many students experience some form of stress depending on their environment and academic work load. Researchers found that attending tertiary education for the first time is a stressful period for many university freshmen. Stress could adversely affect both mental and physical well-being of students, besides the deterioration of their academic performance. A research by Randall et al. (2000) indicated that high stress levels had not only interfered with the students’ performance, but also exposed many of them to mental and physical health risks. Most of the students undergo excessive assignments, time pressure, personal problems, finance difficulties and relationship with faculty which also causes stress. Hence, the objectives of the study are to assess the level of stress and coping strategies among undergraduates, stress level and coping strategy relationships and lastly identify stress levels and coping strategy based on their gender and ethnic group.
A quantitative study utilizing a cross sectional non-probability sampling research design was used to gather data from eighty- six Cognitive Science undergraduates in a public university in Malaysia. Data was gathered using a self-administered questionnaire. Both English and Bahasa Malaysia versions of the questionnaire were provided to the respondents. The questionnaire took about 15 minutes to complete. Only those respondents willing to participate in the study were included. Participants were informed about the purpose of thstudy and was assured confidentiality.