Stress overload is the destructive form of stress when the demands of stressors outweigh the resources one has to counter these stressors. Previous research has shown it to predict illness, poor grades, and the use of maladaptive coping strategies (i.e., avoidance). This study examines the direct and indirect effects (by way of coping strategies) of stress overload on academic performance in a sample of 1,039 freshman. It was hypothesized that stress overload would be related to poor academic performance, as measured by GPA and enrollment status. Findings from hierarchical regression analyses showed stress overload and avoidance coping were related to poor academic performance. Contrary to the hypotheses, however, coping strategies did not mediate the relationship between stress overload and academic performance: instead, tests suggested that stress overload mediates the relationship between avoidance and performance. That is, stress overload may be an aftereffect of maladaptive coping strategies, in this case avoidance, and thereby has the more proximal effect on students’ academic performance. The implications of these findings for university retention efforts, and limitations of the study, are discussed.
|Advisor:||Amirkhan, James H.|
|Commitee:||Kohfeldt, Danielle, Lee, Diane|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 58/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education, Educational psychology, Psychology, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Academic performance, Coping, Education, Mediation, Stress|
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