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The impact of stress on the academic performance of students in the University of Cape Coast, School of Business.

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This work is designed to examine the problem of academic stress among students of the University of Cape Coast, School of Business, its causes and ways of controlling it to enhance the students’ performance. The objective of this study is to examine the effect of stress on the academic performance of University of Cape Coast, School of Business students and the associated risk when stress is not managed properly. To achieve this objective, three (3) research questions were tested and the literature review was mainly focused on the causes, effects and ways of managing academic stress. The instrument of data collection was questionnaire while convenience sampling method and random sampling technique were adopted for the study. Data collected and analyzed were driven from the three (3) research questions posed. A sample size of 100 from a population of over one-thousand (1,000) was used due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the findings, it was discovered that academic stress could be controlled to enhance students’ performance. The study discovered that by educating students on how to manage stress, staying focus, having enough rest, exercising a lot and effective time management can help to manage stress in order to enhance students’ academic performance. Keywords: Stress, Academic Performance, Managing stress
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UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST
THE IMPACT OF STRESS ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF
STUDENT’S IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST, SCHOOL OF
BUSINESS.
EMMANUEL BROBBEY
2020
UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST
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THE IMPACT OF STRESS ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF
STUDENTS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST, SCHOOL OF
BUSINESS.
EMMANUEL BROBBEY
THIS PROJECT IS SUBMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE
COAST, DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR THE AWARD OF
BACHELOR OF COMMERCE DEGREE IN MAMNAGEMENT.
AUGUST 2020
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DECLARATION
Members Declaration
We hereby declare that apart from external sources of data which have been
duly acknowledged in the reference section of this project work, the research
study is a result of our own investigation supervised by Mrs. Juan-Ark Manu
Agyapong and presented to the University of Cape Coast, School of Business.
We further affirm that no part or whole of it has been submitted for any
research work elsewhere.
Leader’s Name: Brobbey Emmanuel
Leader’s Signature ……………………… Date ………………
Supervisor’s Declaration
I hereby declare that the preparation and presentation of this research work
was supervised in accordance with the guidelines on supervision laid down by
the University of Cape Coast.
Supervisor: Mrs. Juan-Ark Manu Agyapong
Supervisor’s Signature …………………… Date ……………...
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ABSTRACT
This work is designed to examine the problem of academic stress among
students of the University of Cape Coast, School of Business, its causes and
ways of controlling it to enhance the students’ performance. The objective of
this study is to examine the effect of stress on the academic performance of
University of Cape Coast, School of Business students and the associated risk
when stress is not managed properly. To achieve this objective, three (3)
research questions were tested and the literature review was mainly focused on
the causes, effects and ways of managing academic stress. The instrument of
data collection was questionnaire while convenience sampling method and
random sampling technique were adopted for the study. Data collected and
analyzed were driven from the three (3) research questions posed. A sample
size of 100 from a population of over one-thousand (1,000) was used due to
the COVID-19 pandemic. From the findings, it was discovered that academic
stress could be controlled to enhance students’ performance. The study
discovered that by educating students on how to manage stress, staying focus,
having enough rest, exercising a lot and effective time management can help
to manage stress in order to enhance students’ academic performance.
Keywords: Stress, Academic Performance, Managing stress
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
We are very grateful to have completed our research work at a University as
collaborative as the University of Cape Coast, School of Business, there are
many people to appreciate for their role played in our accomplishment. We
would like to give special thanks to our Supervisor, Mrs. Juan-Ark Manu
Agyapong for her countless hours of reflecting, reading, correcting and most
of patience throughout our work.
Our sincere thanks go to our parents for their financial support and endless
prayers and to all our friends who in one way or the other encouraged and
supported us.
Special thanks go to the teaching assistant of the Department of Management
in the 2019/2020 academic year for their help and encouragement throughout
our project work.
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DEDICATION
We dedicate this work to God almighty, who has brought us this far and from
whom all good things come. We also dedicate this work to our lecturers and to
all my friends for their motivation and words of encouragement.
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TABLE OF CONTENT
Contents Page
DECLARATION ............................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................... iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ................................................................................ iv
DEDICATION ................................................................................................... v
LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................... x
CHAPTER ONE ................................................................................................ 1
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 1
Background of the Study ................................................................................... 1
Statement of the Problem ................................................................................... 4
Purpose of the Study .......................................................................................... 5
Objectives of the Study ...................................................................................... 5
Research Questions ............................................................................................ 5
Significance of the Study ................................................................................... 6
Delimitation of the Study ................................................................................... 6
Limitations ......................................................................................................... 7
Definition of Key Terms .................................................................................... 7
Organization of the study ................................................................................... 8
CHAPTER TWO ............................................................................................... 9
LITERATURE REVIEW .................................................................................. 9
Introduction ........................................................................................................ 9
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Theoretical framework ..................................................................................... 13
Lazarus stress theory ........................................................................................ 13
Conceptual Review .......................................................................................... 16
Positive effect of academic stress .................................................................... 16
Negative effects of school stress. ..................................................................... 17
Factors that causes academic stress ................................................................. 19
Health factors ................................................................................................... 19
Exercise ............................................................................................................ 19
Sleep patterns ................................................................................................... 20
Social factors .................................................................................................... 21
Finance ............................................................................................................. 21
Family and social support ................................................................................ 21
Problem with roommate ................................................................................... 22
Academic factors ............................................................................................. 22
Management of time ........................................................................................ 23
Finance ............................................................................................................. 23
Course overload ............................................................................................... 24
Finding the sources of stress ............................................................................ 24
Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs .................................................................... 25
Management of time ........................................................................................ 25
Talk to your loved ones.................................................................................... 25
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Maintain a healthy and varied diet ................................................................... 26
Benefits of stress management ......................................................................... 26
Empirical review .............................................................................................. 26
Conceptual framework ..................................................................................... 30
Chapter Summary ............................................................................................ 30
CHAPTER THREE ......................................................................................... 31
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY..................................................................... 31
Introduction ...................................................................................................... 31
Research Approach .......................................................................................... 31
Research Design............................................................................................... 32
Study Area ....................................................................................................... 32
Sample Size (Target Population) ..................................................................... 33
Sampling method ............................................................................................. 33
Research Instruments ....................................................................................... 34
Administration of Research Instruments ......................................................... 34
Data collection techniques ............................................................................... 35
Ethical Considerations ..................................................................................... 35
Data Collection Procedure ............................................................................... 36
Data analysis .................................................................................................... 36
Field work Challenges ..................................................................................... 37
Chapter Summary ............................................................................................ 37
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CHAPTER FOUR ............................................................................................ 38
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS .................................................................... 38
GENDER ......................................................................................................... 38
AGE ................................................................................................................. 39
OPTION IN BCOM ......................................................................................... 40
LEVEL OF STUDY ........................................................................................ 41
SOURCES OF STRESS .................................................................................. 42
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE ...................................................................... 43
STRESS ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC LIFE .............................................. 44
STRESS AWARENESS .................................................................................. 45
CHAPTER FIVE ............................................................................................. 50
DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION ........................... 50
Discussion ........................................................................................................ 50
Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 51
Recommendations ............................................................................................ 52
Suggestions for Further Study ......................................................................... 53
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
1 Authors Construct ................................................................................ 30
2 Gender (N=100) .................................................................................. 39
3 Age of students (N=100) ..................................................................... 40
4 Option in Bcom (N=100) .................................................................... 41
5 Year of Studies ( N=100) .................................................................... 42
6 Sources of stress (N=100) ................................................................... 43
7 Academic Performance (N=100) ........................................................ 44
8 Students’ academic life ( N=100) ....................................................... 45
9 Should stress awareness be taught at the University ( N=100) ........... 46
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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Stress is a major source of problems that students face during their
university education when they are struggling to achieve academic outcomes
for their future life (Lee & Graham, 2001). Academic pressure is one of the
factors that causes students to fail. Sharma, Parasar and Mahto (2017) define
stress as the mental response and action by hormonal signaling, the perception
of danger triggers an automatic response system, known as response to fight or
flee. Generally, stress refers to two things, the psychological perception of
pressure, on the one hand, and the body's response to it, on the other, which
involves multiple systems, from muscle breakdown to memory. Stress
demands high expectations of oneself, which causes a feeling of tension and
pressure (Goedert, Cuenda, Craxton, Jakes & Cohen 1997).
Certain tensions set us in motion and are good for us without any
tension. Many say that our lives would be boring and possibly meaningless
(Wilson,2007). However, when stress undermines our psychological and
physical health, it is bad. Students are subject to different types of stressors,
such as pressure from academics with the obligation to succeed, an uncertain
future and difficulties integrating into the system. Students also face social,
emotional, physical and family problems that can affect their ability to learn
and their academic performance (Rogers & Yassin,2003). Too much stress can
cause physical and mental health problems, low student self-esteem, and can
also affect students’ academic performance (Niemi & Vainiomaki,1999).
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For students currently attending university, however, the process is
often stressful and frustrating. According to Cotton, Dollard and DeJonge
(2002), competition for grades, the need to perform well, relationships, career
choices and many other aspects of the university environment are sources of
stress. Before condemning stress outright, we need to understand that stress is
only harmful when it is excessive. Much of the stress that we all know is
helpful and stimulating. The challenges of life tend to be stressful and an
attempt to avoid stress completely would lead to a rather boring existence. The
problem arises when you feel too much stress. Although some reactions to
stress are part of deeper and more serious emotional problems, many are not
and can be treated with relatively simple counseling and stress management
techniques.
This study focuses more on the harm than good stress does to students
in relation to their academic performance at school. It is common for students,
individually or in groups, to interact with their environment, these experiences
in one way or another affect their academic performance (Chemers, Hu &
Garcia 2001). Stress has generated a lot of interest in recent years. It has been
of great concern to members of the academic world and other researchers. For
most people, stress is bad and should be avoided, but this position is not
always true.
According to Yates (1979), stress in sufficient quantity is a necessary
ingredient for anyone whose life will show vitality. Stress must be managed,
not simply avoided. Therefore, this study is designed to analyze the effect of
stress on students’ academic performance using the University Of Cape Coast
School Of Business as a case study. Ivancevish (1980) pointed out that to say
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that stress causes performance degradation is rather simplistic as to the starting
position. Therefore, there must be an optimal level of stress tolerated to
achieve performance. This point of view makes stress a complex concept
which does not lead to a simple definition.
Mc-Garth (1776) defined stress in terms of conditions necessary for it
in the following way: it is a potential for stress when it is perceived that the
environmental situation presents a demand which threatens to exceed
capacities of the person. The same is true of the harmful effects on their well-
being, their health and even the care of their students. Some negative effects of
stress are increased absenteeism, heart disease, late classes and poor health.
Stress can have both positive and negative consequences for the
individual. Optimal stress can lead to maximum efficiency, create satisfaction,
a feeling of well-being and accomplishment, and another reward for success
(Mensah, Fosu, & Oteng, 2017). On the other hand, excessive stress at school
can lead to loss of appetite for reading, poor performance and reduced mental
and physical health. Stress is caused by certain factors (stressors) that exist
inside and outside the school environment (Zautra, 2006). These stressors can
be identified as intra-individual, inter-individual, institutional and extra-
institutional stressors.
Gibson, Ivancevich and Donnelly (1995) defined stress as an adaptive
response mediated by individual differences and psychological processes,
which is a consequence of any external physical (environmental) action,
request or action. However, some common factors have been identified as
sources of related academic stress. Some of these factors include conference
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overload, long conference hours, poor time management, student financial
difficulties and many more.
Students’ academic performance is a key characteristic of education
(Rono 2013). It is considered to be the center around which the entire
education system evolves. Some factors influencing high academic
achievement include daily hours of study, parents' economic status and good
learning facilities (Singh, Malik & Singh (2016). Students face challenges in
their studies due to the ineffective use of these factors to improve academic
performance. In this sense, this study seeks to discover the negative impact of
stress on student achievement, the relationship between school stress and
students’ achievement, and finally, to recommend strategies for managing
stress at the University of Cape Coast School of Business, the reason being
that complex results on how academic stress relates to students’ performance
can be provided effectively.
Statement of the Problem
A lot of research has been done on school stress and student
performance. For example, Kaumi, Alkali, Kali and Shehu (2018) conducted
research on the effect of stress on the academic performance of students at
Ramat Polytechnic Maiduguri in Nigeria. In addition, Mohammed (2018)
studied the impact of stress on the academic performance of secondary school
students in the Vehari district. In the same year, Marwoan (2018) investigated
academic stress among undergraduates at King Saud University in Riyadh.
Mussarat Jabeen Khan in Lahore has also conducted research on the effect of
perceived academic stress on student achievement.
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In Ghana, Duncan-Williams (2015) studies school stress, academic
performance and psychological well-being of upper secondary rehabilitation
students in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. Although several studies have
been conducted on academic stress and student performance in the University
of Cape Coast School of Business specifically, we would like to add more
information to the ones already conducted.
Purpose of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of stress on the
academic performance of University of Cape Coast School of Business
students and the associated risk when stress is not managed properly.
Objectives of the Study
The objective of carrying out this study is as follows;
1. To identify the causes of stress among the students at the
University of Cape Coast School of Business.
2. To identify the specific areas of stress in the lives of students the
University of Cape Coast School of Business.
3. To identify techniques to deal with the stress.
Research Questions
Considering the findings above, the research is intended to address the
following questions:
1. How does stress influence the students’ academic life?
2. Should stress awareness be taught at the University?
3. How do you feel when you are stressed?
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Significance of the Study
This research will provide information on protective factors that help
reduce the influence of stress on students' academic performance. This study
will benefit students of the University Cape Coast especially those in the
School of Business and the entire body of the University. The study provides
stress management recommendations that will improve student thinking such
as creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and learning
ability.
Students and the general users at large will be exposed to specific areas
of stress in their lives and identify the causes of stress among the students in
the University of Cape Coast School of Business.
The recommendations from the research study will suggest appropriate
ways of handling stress and the techniques to deal with it.
The research can add up to the literature available to the subject area
which can be used by other researchers to serve as a source of reference in
further studies. For this, future researchers can read the methodology and the
findings of this study to conduct a further research on the subject area.
Delimitation of the Study
This study will be limited to the University of Cape Coast School of
Business. This is due to the fact that the university is made up of many schools
and colleges and that research cannot be carried out using all of these
establishments. The students’ results are also expected to faithfully reflect
other students from other schools and faculties of the University.
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Limitations
Due to financial constraints, this survey will not be focused on the
students of the University of Cape Coast at large and also respondents’
response could also pose a challenge, since many feel they would be
victimized.
Also, as a result of the impact of COVID-19, most of the students are not
available on campus to fill the questionnaires hence there has been a reduction
in sample size.
Definition of Key Terms
Stress: Lazarus and Folkman (1984) explained stress as a condition or
a feeling felt when a person perceives that the demands exceed the
personal and social resources that the individual can mobilize to
manage the condition.
Academic Performance: Refers to how the student obtains a score in
a given exercise in class, homework or exams. It is measured by the
grades they get and also their participation in class (Nana &
Gowtham,2014).
Attrition: A wearing down to weaken or destroy (Stress Effect).
Stress Management: Refers to a series of measures taken by an
individual or an institution to reduce the possible negative effects of
stress (Smith et al, 2010). Stress management begins with a person
who takes charge of their thoughts, emotions, schedule, environment
and problems, (Auerbach & Gramling, 2000).
Stressors: These are requirements of the internal or external
environment that alter balance, which affects physical and
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psychological well-being and requires actions to restore balance,
Douglas (1992).
Academic Stress: It is a mental anguish concerning a certain
anticipated frustration associated with school failure or even an
awareness of the possibility of such failure
Organization of the study
This section provides a road map that my guide readers through the reading
the understanding of this research. The study is structured into five (5)
chapters with chapters, with chapter one outlining the background of the
study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions,
significance of the study, scope and delimitation of the study and definition of
terms.
The second chapter gives a comprehensive analysis of related literature on the
topic, theoretical framework and conceptual framework related to the gap in
the knowledge from chapter one.
The chapter three which deals with the research methodology will provide
enough quantitative or qualitative information to replicate the study.
The chapter four will analyze and give explanations, discussions,
interpretations and summary of key findings to the various data collected from
the students during interviews.
The final chapter will summarize key information in the research, concluding
remarks, and recommendations are also given to improve the quality of study
in this field. A reference list and questionnaires will be attached at the end of
this research, as well.
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CHAPTER TWO
LITERATURE REVIEW
Introduction
Stress is the physical or mental condition induced by various stressors
to the students (Ekpenyong, Daniel, & Aribo, 2013). This project is a
summary of literature focused on the impact of stress on the academic
performance of University of Cape Coast School of Business students. The
main aim of this study is to investigate the impact of stress on the academic
performance of School of Business students at the University of Cape Coast,
and related risk when stress is not handled properly. Additionally, there is
discussion of acute and chronic stress, which is linked to the stress period.
Academic stressors like academic success, economy, social ties and managing
time management is debated in detail. What's more, this study details how
students deal with stress. This study will help business school students at the
University of Cape Coast to understand the effects of stress on their academic
performance and to learn how to manage stress. Various techniques to reduce,
avoid and manage school stress are recommended for use in practice.
There are a variety of stress meanings and several occurrences which
can lead to stress. People claim they are stressed when taking an exam, when
facing a stressful job situation, or when experiencing problems in
relationships. Stressful situations can be regarded as harmful, dangerous or
difficult (Perrewé & Zellars, 1999). It is difficult, with so many factors
contributing to stress. The definition of stress is difficult to describe. Hans
Selye (1936) proposed the first and most generic definition of stress "as a non-
specific response of the organism to any request for change."
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Folkman (1984) suggested stress occurs when people perceive external
situational demands to exceed their ability to adapt. "Stress is a state of mind
that represents certain biochemical reactions in the human body and is
projected by a sense of anxiety, according to Jit (1995); Tension and
depression, caused by environmental or internal factors that cannot be met by
the person's resources. Levi (1996) claimed that "stress is triggered by a
multitude of demands (stressors), a disparity between what we need and what
we can, what our world offers us and what it demands of us."
Stress happens when the person has a burden that exceeds his or her
available assets. If the stress is severe and prolonged, it can reduce academic
performance, impede the ability of a student to become involved and
contribute to campus life, and increase the likelihood of abuse of substances
and other potentially destructive behaviors (Richlin, Klonsky & Hoe 2003).
Research by Vermunt and Steensman, (2005) defines stress as the perception
of the incongruity between the environmental burden (stressors) and a person's
ability to fulfill them. Researchers typically describe stress as the unpleasant
reaction people experience under intense pressure or some other form of strain
imposed upon them. Stress occurs when a person faces a situation he
recognizes as irresistible and cannot cope with (Khan, Altaf, & Kausar, 2013).
Students are subjected to stress (Smith, Johal, Wadsworth, Smith &
Peters 2000) in an advanced educational organization like the University,
where the burden imposed on students is based on the time limit and the
difficulty of standing out in tests or exams. Research has identified stress
symptoms, such as energy loss, high blood pressure, depressed mood,
increased desire, focus trouble, impatience, nervousness, and anxiety (Agolla
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& Ongori, 2009). The Person-Environment model is a valuable model for
understanding stress in university students (Misra & McKean, 2000). This
model suggests people might view stressful events as demanding or
frightening.
Perception of educational goals as a challenge creates stress and this
stress, in turn, creates a sense of competence and an enhanced learning
capacity (Khan et al, 2013). The perception of education as a threat, however,
brings with it a sense of hopelessness and a worrying sense of loss, leading to
a drop in school results. Stress is considered a part of student life and can
influence student coping strategies according to university life demands.
Academic work is actually always done with stressful activities (Agolla et al.,
2009). Students recorded their experience of high academic stress at regular
times in each semester, arising from planning and taking tests, classification
competition and mastery of a large number of programs in a relatively short
period (Rawson, Bloomer & Kendall, 1999). A strong relationship between
stressful life events and decreasing academic performance is found among
university students, as well as a link between health-related quality of life and
stress, (Dusselier, Dunn, Wang, Shelley & Whalen 2005).
Undergraduate students reported that stress was the most common
factor among all the health factors that affect their academic performance,
since stress affects physical and psychological health, (Dwyer & Cummings,
2001). Wintre and Yaffe (2000) concluded that a high level of stress in the
first year of college provides for a lower level of overall adjustment and can
make students more susceptible to many social and psychological problems,
thus leading to a weighted average for the last year. Many studies have
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addressed this issue and it has been found that many psychological problems
such as depression, anxiety and stress have an impact on student academic
performance. Williamson, Birmaher, Ryan and Dahl (2005) reported that
among anxious and depressed youth, stressful life events are significantly
elevated, which in turn results in poor academic performance.
Stress has become an important subject in research studies in academia
as well as in our society. Academic stress in students has long been the subject
of research and researchers have recognized various important stressors
including missions, unhealthy competition among students in the class, fear of
failure in academic success, inadequate finances, poor interpersonal
relationships with teachers and family issues (Fairbrother & Warn, 2003). At
the institutional level, some stressors are the overcrowded conference rooms,
the semester system and the insufficient resources to carry out academic work
(Awino & Agolla, 2008). Kumar and Jejurkar (2005) concluded in their
studies that academic factors were mainly responsible for higher stress levels
among undergraduates.
Students experience stress due to various factors including time
management issues, financial issues, interaction with teachers, personal
subjective goals, social behavior and adjustment in lack of cultural support
(Wilks, 2008). Admission process, high expectations of parents, curriculum
with complex concepts, unsuitable school hours, unbalanced student-teacher
relationship, physical classroom environment, unhealthy student-teacher
interaction, strict and fast discipline rules, too many tasks or complex,
teaching methodology, the careless attitude of the teacher and the emphasis on
weaknesses rather than recognizing strengths (Masih & Gulrez, 2006).
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Academic stress occurs when the academic demands exceed the resources
available to a person whom he or she adapts and this stress should not be
ignored because it negatively affects the general adjustment of students
(Hussain, Kumar & Husain, 2008). Stress can negatively affect a student's
academic performance, so it is important for students to manage stress in order
to overcome the negative effect of stress (Mushtaq, I., & Khan, S.N. 2012).
Theoretical framework
Over the years, several theories have been developed by a number of
authors to help students understand stress, its manifestations and its impacts.
Lazarus stress theory is the main theory supporting our research.
Lazarus stress theory
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) explained that stress is a condition or
feeling that is felt when a person perceives that the demands exceed the
personal and social resources that the person can mobilize to manage the
condition. This is also called the "coping and transactional stress model."
Therefore, the individual perception of the psychological situation is the
critical factor. According to Lazarus, the effects of stress on a person are based
more on the feeling of threat, vulnerability and ability to cope with that person
than on the stressful event itself.
Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) Transactional Model of Stress is used as the
theoretical framework underlying this study. The model describes how an
individual reacts to specific stressors in the external environment. According
to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), no event or situation is inherently stressful.
Instead, the stressor is defined by the subjective judgment of the situation that
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is considered threatening, damaging or taxing available resources. So, the way
that people react to similar stressors varies due to the different perception that
they have. According to Lazarus, psychological stress is a particular
relationship between the person and the environment that the person evaluates
as taxing or exceeding their resources and endangering their well-being. For
example, too many assignments in a short period of time can make a student
believe that they will certainly not finish within the allotted time.
Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) stress theory is particularly relevant as
an analytical framework, as it will help us better study some key stressors that
can ultimately affect students' academic performance and how to manage or
control these academic stressors.
Lazarus theory of stress believes that academic stress can be assessed in two
main ways, namely:
1. Primary assessment
2. Secondary assessment
The primary assessment is when an individual decides whether a situation is
threatening or positive. There are three things an individual should assess:
1. How serious is the threat to this person?
2. Is it a positive encounter?
3. Is it difficult or harmful?
If a person decides that the situation is threatening, the following effects can
occur: injury, illness, worry, anger, disgust, disappointment, anxiety and fear.
15
For example, when a student perceives a high probability of failing a
particular course, he begins to worry and sometimes he can get sick before the
actual event occurs.
Secondary assessment occurs when we assess the resources available to fight
or cope with the stressor. A person can choose to use internal options
(willpower, internal strength) or external options (peers, professional help).
For example, when a student does not understand a particular lesson, he may
choose to devote more time to this particular lesson or ask for help from
friends or a teacher.
Lazarus theory of stress has also developed two key strategies to handle or
manage school stress. They are:
1. Coping with problems
2. Emotional adaptation
Problem-based coping is used when we feel that we are in control or can
handle the source of the problem. There are four steps to managing this stress:
1. Define the problem
2. Generate alternative solutions.
3. Learn new skills to deal with stressors
4. Re-evaluate and find new standards of behavior.
Emotional adjustment is used when an individual feel that he cannot handle
the source of the problem. Therefore, this leads people to avoid stressful
situations, to distance themselves from stressors, to accept or seek medical
assistance.
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For example, when a student fails the exam, he feels vulnerable or threatened
by what other people around him are saying, in addition to the stressful event
itself.
According to Laurence, Williams and Eiland (2009), theories of stress
can be classified into three aspects:
1. response theories
2. stimulus theories
3. transaction theories
According to response theories, stress is understood as a response by people to
external pressures or to stressors, such as too many assignments in a short
time. Stimulation theories seek to understand stress from the perspective of
major events such as humanitarian disasters, chronic activities and other life-
threatening activities. In transactional or process theories, stress is studied as a
complex set of interactions and adjustments between the person and the
environment. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) are the most popular transaction
theory. Through their transactional model, they emphasize the “transactional”
nature of stress, by arguing that it is a two-way process by which the
environment produces stressors and the individual finds ways to manage them.
Conceptual Review
Positive effect of academic stress
1. According to experts, stress is an explosion of energy that basically
advises you on what to do. Stress has many benefits in small doses. For
example, stress can help you overcome daily challenges and motivate
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you to reach your goals. In fact, stress can help you do things more
effectively. It can even increase memory.
2. Stress is also a vital alert system, which produces the fight or flight
response. When the brain detects a certain type of stress, it begins to
flood the body with chemicals such as epinephrine, norepinephrine and
cortisol. This creates a variety of reactions, such as an increase in
blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, the senses suddenly have a
laser-like focus so that you can avoid situations of physical stress, such
as jumping out of a moving car and being safe.
3. In addition, there are several health benefits with a little stress.
Researchers believe that some stress can help strengthen the immune
system. For example, stress can improve the functioning of your heart
and protect your body from infection. In one study, people who
experienced moderate stress levels before surgery were able to recover
faster than people who had low or high levels.
Negative effects of school stress.
1. Stress worsens grades: when a student is stressed and worried, he takes
charge of his ability to concentrate during lessons or studies. Stress can
even cause students to drop out of school or stop school. The National
Health Assessment 2010 of the American University Health
Association reported that more than twenty-five percent of students say
that stress has reduced their grades or the ability to complete a course.
For students experiencing stress at home, attending school homework
may not be a priority. As the research shows, the stress exhibited by
instructors directly increases the stress level of students in the
18
classroom. Stressors can appear at any time to interrupt learning and
concentration. It is vital for educators to recognize the significant
impact of stress on adolescents and young adults and to work to create
a calm and supportive educational environment. School administrators
who want their students to be academically successful should regularly
check on students and refer students to mental health counselors and
programs if necessary, and inform families of the negative impact of
stress on students.
2. Stress decreases the quality of sleep: there is a link between stress
levels and lack of sleep. According to the Anxiety and Depression
Association of America, 70% of those who report persistent stress have
trouble sleeping.
3. The National Sleep Foundation reports that teens need at least eight
hours of sleep to function at peak performance, but only about 15% of
teens get enough. Lack of sleep makes stress management difficult,
while negatively affecting concentration, learning, listening, memory
and problem solving.
4. Stress enrages students: stress can be to blame for students who are
likely to intimidate others. The Mayo Clinic reports that stress
increases feelings of irritability and anger, increasing the likelihood of
outbursts and social withdrawal. In addition to directing anger at
fellow students, stressed students may be reluctant to follow school
guidelines and engage respectfully with the instructors. They can also
display disrespectful behavior online. His focus on anger can make the
whole job suffer.
19
Factors that causes academic stress
There are many stressors, but several authors have grouped some of the
stressors into three: social, health and academic factors.
Health factors
There are three health-related factors that contribute to student
academic performance. These factors include the amount of exercise, sleep
patterns and nutritional routines that have been shown to contribute to a
student's academic performance (Hammer et al, 1998). These factors are
discussed below.
Exercise
The researchers assessed the effect of exercise on the academic
performance of university students, but came to different conclusions.
Turbow, (1985), in a study of eight hundred and ninety-one senior classes and
graduate students, found that students who worked seven hours or more a
week scored significantly lower than those who worked six hours or more. less
per week or who weren't doing everything. The same results have been
reported by Trockel et al. (2000). They consider that taking time out of the
hours of frequent study to work takes away the marks of the students. Trockel
et al. (2000) also observed that a common phenomenon on university
campuses was that students became almost addicted to exercise, thereby
transforming healthy behavior into a psychologically unhealthy state.
20
Sleep patterns
Reports in the literature indicate that sleep patterns explain the greatest
variance in the students' cumulative weighted average (Lack, 1986). Kelly et
al. (2001) "classified sleep habits into three categories:
1. Short sleepers: individuals who, when left on their own schedule, have
slept six hours or less.
2. Average sleepers: individuals who sleep seven or eight hours.
3. Long sleepers: people who sleep nine hours or more over twenty-four
hours.
The study found that people who were considered to be sleeping long
reported higher GPAs. Indeed, people who sleep fewer hours at night may
suffer from psychological maladjustment and this increases their anxiety and
stress, which has been associated with poorer academic performance. These
factors cause problems for students, such as a reduction in attention span and
an increase in the number of errors students make in tests. Similarly, Pilcher
and Walter (1997) found a negative effect of sleep deprivation on student
achievement.
Nutrition
Another aspect of the health factor that has been shown to be linked to
academic performance is nutrition. One aspect of the relationship between diet
and school performance concerns the consumption of breakfast. Breakfast
seems to predict high GPAs and it seems to influence short-term recall and
spatial memory (Benton & Sargent, 1992). However, Trockel et al., (2000)
21
show that breakfast does not significantly affect the semester's GPA after
controlling for the effects of waking up on weekends and weekdays.
Social factors
A number of social factors that can contribute to stress among
university students have been identified. They understand the lack of time and
support for and from family and friends, family commitments, financial
difficulties and problems with college roommates (Legault, L., Green-Demers,
I., & Pelletier, L. 2006).
Finance
Results from previous studies suggest that financial burdens could be a
potential stressor for students, which contributes to poor academic
performance (Renk, K. & Smith, T. 2007). Pfeiffer, (2001) points out that
there are many students who have to work during their university studies to
pay their fees. It often happens that students have to work late at night, this
can be dangerous for students, because worrying about their financial
problems and their grades can be a huge stress in their university life.
Family and social support
A considerable number of studies have been conducted to examine the
effects of support from parents, family members, friends, academics and peers
on student anxiety and academic performance (Renk, K. & Smith, T. 2007).
However, results on the extent of support received from a particular source are
mixed and inconclusive. William, (1996) found that social support scores were
important predictors of graduates' surrogacy after controlling for various
ethnicity issues. Orpen, (1996) confirms that social support from friends and
22
family members moderated the negative effects on test anxiety and therefore
the results of student exams. Interesting results have been obtained from Smith
and Renk, (2007) where parental support was not significantly linked to
academic stress; however, it is the level of social support received by
university students.
Problem with roommate
It has been shown that the academic motivation given by a roommate
to a student has a positive impact on the student's academic success (Blai,
1972). In fact, students who do better academically can create less stress for
their roommates and, therefore, allow them to perform better (Ryan M.M, et
al., 2004). Based on the study, very little research has been done to determine
whether the problem with the roommate is another contributing factor to stress
and its effect on the academic performance of university students.
Academic factors
Academic problems are the most common source of stress among
students (Struthers et al., 2000). Schafer, (1996) asked students about their
most stressful daily problems. He observed that the most irritating daily
hassles were generally school-related stressors such as constant pressure to
study, too little time, writing course materials, taking tests, plans and boring
instructors. Among the stressors, Fisher (1994) stated that anxiety related to
tests or exams is one of the main causes of school stress and most students
seem to be more emotionally vulnerable to the exam. Another frequently
reported source of stress that most university students are aware of is receiving
a lower score than they expected (Ratana 2003). Stress associated with school
activities has been linked to various negative outcomes such as poor health,
23
depression and poor academic performance (Clark & Rieker, 1986). For
example, Lesko and Summerfield (1989) found a significant positive
correlation between the incidence of the disease and the number of exams and
assignments. Similarly, Aldwin and Greenberger (1987) found that perceived
academic stress was linked to anxiety and depression among university
students. However, even if too much stress can interfere with a student's
preparation, concentration and, subsequently, performance, positive stress can
be helpful to students by motivating them to achieve optimal performance
(Pfeiffer, 2001).
Management of time
Time management plays an effective role as a stressor. Most of the
time, students feel lazy and therefore continue to postpone their homework
and other things. By finishing the job at the end, a person feels the stress of
doing all the homework together. Here, stress is caused by not managing time
in any of the situations the student faces in everyday life, which could affect
performance or concealment.
Finance
He became more familiar with the fact that education has become too
expensive. On the economic level, college education is reaching new heights.
So we conclude here that university fees are expensive. Not all parents can pay
school fees. But parents who cannot pay but are ready to admit their child to
university still manage to pay their fees. They sacrifice their other needs in
front of their children's careers and also for their wants and needs. It is also
one of the causes of stress in the life of the individual. The individual is
familiar with this fact and it can stalk the individual's mind, causing stress. On
24
the other hand, there can be many other ways to cause stress due to financial
problems. If the individual is not satisfied with their monthly pocket money or
cannot meet their own needs or is embarrassed in front of their friends due to
lack of money or continuous sacrifices due to lack of money or losing money
in any situation This can cause financial stress.
Course overload
Contagious classrooms are common in all schools, especially those
overcrowded with students over the age of 40. Most of these classrooms have
little space between students and ventilation is inadequate. Even with good
ventilation, the window and doors are sometimes closed.
As mentioned earlier, an overcrowded conference room can cause stress,
which in turn weakens the immune system, allowing children to get sick faster
than normal.
Students at the University of Cape Coast Business School can manage stress in
several ways. These include:
Finding the sources of stress
Often when a university student is under stress, he or she does not
know the reason for the stress. In this case, that person should be calm and
find out the stressors that are causing them stress. This can be something like
exam stress, laundry load, fighting with friends or family issues. By having a
clear idea of the stressors in the student’s life, the student will be one step
closer to administering the student’s life.
25
Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs
Few people give reason to relax for smoking. But this is a
misunderstanding. But the point is, nicotine controls an individual's feelings so
they don't know. Alcohol, smoking and drugs are stimulants, which will
increase your stress instead of reducing it. It also causes stress, so a university
student should avoid smoking, using alcohol and drugs. You can instead drink
herbal tea, fresh fruit juices and mineral water to keep yourself hydrated.
The father of stress research, Hans Selye, named the factors that cause stress
as stressors. He mentioned that the stressors could be a factor of time, meeting,
situation and anticipation. In general, stress depends on variables such as time
management, finances and course overload.
Management of time
Often when an individual keeps their tasks on hold, he or she feels
responsible for completing the tasks together at the end. It causes stress. So, to
avoid such stress, a person must manage his time properly. He or she should
prefer to finish the tasks on time and not continue to postpone the work for
whatever reason and which concerns stress until the end. This may give you
time to do other activities. Time management is also important advice for
coping with and avoiding stress.
Talk to your loved ones
Many times, when someone is stressed for some reason, they need to
talk to their family member, best friend and partner. By expressing stress and
sharing problems with loved ones, you can really help reduce your stress.
Also, your family members can give you some tips for dealing with your stress
26
or help you find solutions. Therefore, talking to a loved one can help cope
with or manage stress.
Maintain a healthy and varied diet
Always try to maintain a healthy diet. Food is not only to satisfy
hunger, but its respective vitamins play a role in reducing stress. Fresh orange
and grape juice would be good for an individual's immune system and would
help reduce stress. Therefore, maintaining a healthy diet will also help you
cope with stress.
Benefits of stress management
Managing stress among students is the very important key to success
and happiness. Being able to manage stress will improve the quality of life for
students. Learning to manage stress will be very helpful in a student's personal
and professional life. Stress management will also increase an individual's
patience and quality of work. Some of the benefits of stress management
include better immune function, more relaxation, good mood, and positive
energy.
Empirical review
S. Akgun, and J. Ciarrochi, (2003) examined the effect of school stress
and acquired ingenuity on academic performance. It has been hypothesized
that school stress is associated with a low level of academic performance. The
results supported this hypothesis by revealing a significant negative effect of
school stress on school results. This finding is consistent with previous
research results (Felsten & Wilcox 1992) indicating an inverse relationship
between stress and academic performance.
27
They discover that the negative impact of stress has been moderated by
the ingenuity acquired. More specifically, school stress had a significant
negative effect on the academic performance of low-income students, but had
no effect on high-resource students. This result is consistent with previous
laboratory studies where it was found that the ingenuity acquired was linked to
performance in the face of stressful situations. For example, after being
exposed to a must condition of noise or repeated failures, subjects with high
resources showed a more successful performance in an anagram task than
subjects with low resources (Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari, 1985). One possible
explanation is that the stress felt by the ingenious students was actually less
severe than the stress felt by the others. However, we found no evidence that
ingenuity and the severity of stress were linked. Thus, it seems that ingenious
students experience as much academic stress as others, but are better able to
manage this stress effectively.
Current research has studied the effect of academic stress on student
performance and the consequences of certain demographic variables such as
gender, age, level of education at the start and end of the semester. The
Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) was used to measure student stress, it is made up
of ten elements and the reliability is 0.74, which shows that the scale is
reliable. The perceived stress scale (PSS) assumptions are explained below.
The first hypothesis is that school stress affects student performance.
The result found it significant because with the semester system, the students
have less time but they are required to complete many modules and this leads
to stress (Safree, Yasin & Dzulkifli 2010). They also found that depression,
anxiety and stress were negatively correlated with academic performance. The
28
study found that the ability to deal with stress was just as important. How
students perceive stress is an important factor in its severity. A negative or
excessive perception of stress contributes to the fact that students suffer from
psychological and physical impairments (Murphy & Archer, 1996). Students
who are able to manage stress effectively perform much better than those who
are unable to manage stress (Khan, Altaf, & Kausar, 2013).
The second hypothesis states that academic stress will be higher among
female students than among male students. The result indicated the non-
significant difference between men and women on the perceived stress scale.
It is supported by existing research by Watson (2002) to inspect academic
stress among students enrolled in a public college in the Philippines with
reference to gender differences. The results revealed an insignificant
difference in perceived stress between male and female students, as female
students also learned time management and stress coping strategies like male
students. They value their studies by adopting effective and efficient study
habits. In addition, they are very dedicated, concerned and consistent in their
studies.
The third hypothesis states that academic stress will be higher among
younger students than among older students. The result demonstrated that a
significant difference occurs between younger and older students on the
perceived stress scale. Academic stress is higher among younger students than
among older students, as younger students are not as well adjusted to
academic stress as the university as seniors. They do not adapt to problems,
but older students adapt their time management skills compared to younger
students (Trueman & Hartley, 1996). This is due to the fact that they have
29
learned and adapted to successful time management behaviors, which in turn
reduces academic stress and anxiety.
In addition, the fourth hypothesis suggests that academic stress will be
higher among less qualified students (juniors) than among highly qualified
students (seniors). The result showed a significant difference between junior
and senior students on the perceived stress scale. Juniors scored higher on the
perceived stress scale than seniors. Academic stress is higher among less
qualified students (juniors) than among highly qualified students (seniors);
because less qualified students are less experienced, have a low level of
maturity and are more victims of the academic stress of the university
compared to seniors who are not only mature and experienced but also well
adapted and well adapted to academic stress. According to Porter (1990),
almost sixty percent of University students have left university without having
completed their degrees; the majority of these students leave in the first two
years due to an inability to manage their psychological conditions specially to
cope with stress.
The fifth hypothesis notes that at the end of the semester, academic
stress will be higher between students than at the beginning of the semester.
The result indicated the insignificant difference between the students at the
beginning and the end of the semester because students must remain vigilant
throughout the semester system, whether it is the beginning or the end of the
semester. It is the beginning or the end of the semester, students must above
all remain vigilant throughout the semester. It is the request of the biannual
system to stay active and make extra efforts by studying regularly. Nowadays,
more stimulating and innovative tasks are assigned to students who maintain
30
enthusiasm and competition between them rather than creating boredom and
stress.
Conceptual framework
This framework sorts to give a pictorial view of the effect of academic stress
on students’ performance. It is illustrated in figure 1 below:
Figure 1: Authors Construct
Chapter Summary
This chapter offers a detailed overview of how academic stress in the
University of Cape Coast School of Business affects student success. It
captures a clear theoretical framework, empirical review, concept analysis, and
summary of the chapters.
ACADAMIC
STRESS
POSITIVE
EFFECT
NEGATIVE
EFFECT
STUDENTS’
PERFORMAN
CE
31
CHAPTER THREE
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Introduction
The research methodology forms the third chapter of the study. This
chapter presents processes and procedures used to arrive at the findings of the
study. It considered issues such as research approach research design, study
population, sample and sampling procedures, research instrument, data
collection method data analysis and ethical consideration. The data analysis
methods and the data collection tools are also presented in this chapter.
Research Approach
According to Cresswell and Cresswell (2016), there are three
approaches to research; (a) qualitative, (b) quantitative, and (c) mixed
methods. Saunders et al. (2016) provides three significant differences between
quantitative and qualitative research methods. The study employed the
quantitative research approach based on the nature of the study purpose under
consideration, specific objectives, hypotheses and the nature of the primary
data to be collected and analysed. Creswell (2014) asserted that quantitative
approach deals with explaining phenomena by collecting numerical data that
are analysed using mathematically based methods (in particular statistics).
This approach typically begins with data collection based on a hypothesis or
theory and it is followed with application of descriptive or inferential statistics
(Tashakkori & Teddlie, 2003).
Quantitative methods are frequently described as deductive in nature,
in the sense that inferences from tests of statistical hypotheses lead to general
inferences about characteristics of a population. Quantitative research was
32
chosen for this study because it helps in a broad and comprehensive coverage.
Furthermore, data collected through quantitative research approach are
objective and measurable. Quantitative research permits the researcher to
familiarize himself with the concept to be examined and generate hypotheses
to be tested (Salehi & Golafshani, 2010).
Research Design
Research design is usually a plan or blue print which specifies how
data relating to a given problem should be collected and analyzed. It provides
the procedural outlines for the conduct of any investigation. The research will
take both descriptive and explanatory forms to identify the effect of stress on
academic performance of students in the School of Business of the University
of Cape Coast. The descriptive research involves describing, recording,
analyzing and interpreting conditions as they exist. Explanatory research refers
to the research that focuses on studying a situation or a problem in order to
explain the relationships between variables. It is concerned with how the
researchers goes about answering the research questions by way of knowing
what data to gather, the source of data, the intent behind it and the justification
of the particular research design decision (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill,
2007).
Study Area
The study was undertaken at the School of Business of the University
of Cape Coast. This is because the study area was closer to the researcher and
access to information was easy.
33
Sample Size (Target Population)
According to Leedy and Ormrod (2010), population can be seen as the
target group about which the researcher is interested in gaining information
and drawing conclusions.
This research will focus on fifty Students in the School of Business of
the University of Cape Coast. The School of Business of the University of
Cape Coast is made up of six departments. These departments are Accounting,
Finance, Management, Procurement and Supply Chain, and Marketing. These
departments are made up of over one thousand students each. A sample size of
four hundred (100) students was chosen due to financial and time constraints
faced in conducting the study.
Sampling method
Owing to the larger number of the total population of the study, the
researcher selected a representative few or unit from a larger group or
population through sampling techniques. According to Malhotra, Birks and
Wills (2013) sampling is the process of selecting a representative few or unit
from a larger group or population, which is used as a basis of estimating
certain characteristics or elements about the group or population. Arnold and
Randall, (2010) also held similar view when it was concluded that sampling
deals with the selection of respondents chosen in such a way that represent the
total population as good as possible.
A convenience sampling method will be used to identify or get in
contact with our respondents. A convenience sampling is a type of non-
probability sampling method where the sample is taken from a group of people
easy to contact or to reach. Then a random sampling technique was used in
34
selecting participants from each group to form our sample size. Self-
administered questionnaires were issued to the respondents.
Research Instruments
The main instruments used to elicit information for the study was
questionnaire. The questionnaire was structured to consist of both closed and
open-ended type questions which were used to get answers from the
respondents. Questionnaire is a set of questions with a definite purpose
designed for a target group of people to be administered by themselves within
a particular time frame. According to Plano and Badiee, (2010), questionnaire
guarantees high efficiency in data collection and high generalizability of
results over the more intensive research designs. However, Creswell and Plano
(2011) emphasize that questionnaire lacks flexibility in that once a
questionnaire has been designed and distributed out it becomes difficult to
change the categories of data collected. The use of carefully structured
questionnaire enabled the collection of large quantities of data and also had a
wider coverage at less cost. Few interviews were also conducted, personal
observations were also made. However, care was taken in order not to be
biased in giving an objective analysis of what was observed.
Administration of Research Instruments
The questionnaire was designed to capture the demographic data of
respondents and their opinion with respect to the research questions. The
questionnaire was divided into four sections, section A was designed to obtain
information on the demographic and personal details such us sex, age and
level, section B consisted of questions to determine the source of stress,
section C elicits on academic performance and section D was structured to
35
know how feel when they are stress. The questionnaire was constructed using
a five-point Likert type scale. The respondents were required to indicate the
extent of their agreement or disagreement with each statement on a score of
one (1) to five (5). A score of one represented strong agreement with the
statement, while a score of five represented strong disagreements.
Data collection techniques
Looking at the nature of the research, primary data was used. The
primary source involved self-administered questionnaire and interviews. The
questionnaires were administered to the sample of students selected out of the
population to obtain information pertaining to the effect of stress on the
academic performance of Students in the School of Business of the University
of Cape Coast. This method was chosen over other research methods based on
the assertion of Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2007) that, surveys are
appropriate and a common strategy in business research which is a highly
economical means of analyzing a large amount of data. The questionnaire was
prepared to provide answers to the research objectives as well as the research
questions. As and when needed, secondary data may be obtained from
journals, books, among others.
Ethical Considerations
Ethical issues were considered to be very important in conducting a
research of this kind. For this reason, the researcher took into considerations
the ethical issues in the study. This was done in an ethical manner, and was in
line with both moral and practical issues in a research. The consent of the
respondents was sought before the study was carried out. In gathering data for
the study, the respondents were about the purpose of the research and the
36
objective it meant to achieve. Respondent were encouraged to feel free and be
objective as possible in given out their responses as outmost confidentiality
was assured and they had the option to either participate or not. The
participants for the study were also assured of anonymity and confidentiality
in terms of how the findings were revealed. Participants were also assured that
names would not be used and specific reference would not be made to
individuals to allow anyone to discern the real persons being referred to in the
study.
Data Collection Procedure
The questionnaire was self- delivered to the respondents. The
respondents were taken through the questions to avoid any doubts that could
have occurred. The answered questionnaires were retrieved from the
respondents a week after it had been administered to them. Some of the
questionnaire were delivered in the lecture halls and were retrieved
immediately after the lectures.
Data analysis
The data obtained from the questionnaires was grouped on the basis of
their connection with various research objectives. Data was analyzed using
descriptive statistical tools such as mean, mode, regression and correlation
analysis and advanced statistical analysis software packages such as Microsoft
Excel and SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Scientist). Descriptive statistics
by percentages, figures and tables will be generated from the software to
establish relationship among the variables. The relevant information will be
obtained in a standard form using tables, frequencies and percentages to
analyze and interpret the information. The results will be finally presented in
37
charts and tables. These will be used to ensure easy understanding of the
analyses.
Field work Challenges
Some of the respondents were reluctant in providing the needed
information as they saw the exercise as a waste of time and also scared of
being victimized. While some of the respondents took few days to respond to
the questionnaire, it took others a week or more in getting back their responses
for the study. It also worth mentioning that due to some of these challenges,
the research work was delayed.
Chapter Summary
This chapter explains the various methods that will be used to unravel
the effect of stress on the academic performance of University of Cape Coast
School of Business students. The methodology examined at the research
design, population of the study, sample population, data collection and
analysis.
38
CHAPTER FOUR
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
This chapter is to analyze the data obtain as responses to the impact of
stress on the academic performance of University of Cape Coast School of
Business students.
Primary data collection was based on information obtained from
students from the University of Cape Coast school of Business. One- hundred
and twenty (120) questionnaires were administered to some of the students
and we had 100 respondents respectively.
Analysis is done based on the information received from the students
and interpreted to know the impact of stress on the academic performance of
the University of Cape Coast school of Business students.
“The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of stress on the
academic performance of University of Cape Coast School of Business
students”
GENDER
The bar chart below is the gender of students who took the part in the
survey. A total of 100 respondents were involved, out of this, males had the
greater percentage which is 64% and the remaining 36% were females. The
survey was conducted among some students in the University of Cape Coast
School of Business.
39
Male Female
Figure 2 Gender (N=100)
AGE
The slice of the pie chart shows the percentage of students with regards to
their age. Those within the ages of 21-25 had the greater portion of the chart
with 86%, they were followed by those within the ages of 26-30 with 10%,
and the least percentage was taken by those less than 20 with 4%. There were
a total of 100 respondents.
40
Figure 3 Age of students (N=100)
OPTION IN BCOM
The pie chart below illustrates the option of study in BCOM of the
respondents. Management and Accounting had the highest percentage with
34% followed by Finance and others with 32%
41
Figure 4 Option in Bcom (N=100)
LEVEL OF STUDY
The slice of the pie chart below shows the percentage of respondents with
regards to their level of studies. Final years took the greater portion of the
chart with 82%, they were followed by the second years with 12%, next was
the third years with 4% and the least percentage was taken by the first years
with 2%. The respondents were 100 in total.
42
Figure 5 Year of Studies ( N=100)
SOURCES OF STRESS
The chart below explains the sources of stress. There were 100 respondents
with regards to this chart. How often do you hear from your family while on
campus had the greatest percentage with 13.40%, followed by taking in a well-
balanced diet with 13.18%, how often have you been following your time
table had 13.07%, followed by distractions or disturbances from roommate on
campus, and the least was how often have you been angered because of things
that were beyond your control on campus with 10.57%.
In this regard, “how often do you hear from your family whiles on campus” is
a great or major source of stress on students of the University Of Cape Coast
School Of Business.
43
Figure 6 Sources of stress (N=100)
ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
The pie chart illustrates the impact of stress on academic performance. A total
of 100 respondents were involved. From the charts below, stress does not
distract students’ attention during lectures, and it had the highest percentage
with 24.02%, followed by stress not reducing students’ academic morale with
22.55%. Stress does not lead to failure in completing an assignment on time
which is third on the chart with 22.30% , followed by stress does not lead to
my absenteeism in class with 17.89%. And lastly stress does not help the
students to get good grades in all courses. With regards to the chart below, we
can conclude that stress does affect the performance of students in the
University Of Cape Coast School Of Business since it had the lowest
percentage. Thus, from the previous analysis above, the source of stress,
44
which is not hearing from your family, does not help the students to get good
grades in all courses
Figure 7 Academic Performance (N=100)
STRESS ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC LIFE
The chart shows the respondents opinion on whether stress influences
students’ academic life. There were 100 respondents. And with the first bar
which represent “strongly agree”, shows stress really influences students’
academic life since it recorded the highest percentage with 55%.
45
Figure 8 Students’ academic life ( N=100)
STRESS AWARENESS
Below is a chart which represents the respondents’ opinion on whether stress
awareness should be taught in the university. There were 100 respondents. .
And with the first bar which represent “strongly agree”, shows stress
awareness should be taught in the University since it recorded the highest
percentage with 70%
46
Figure 9 Should stress awareness be taught at the University ( N=100)
11. In your own view how can stressed be managed?
Views from the respondents:
Break, meditation
Students taking some time off and relaxing their minds
By calming down and getting your mind off stressing things, for
example, different hobbies and sports. - exercise, time outs and time
management
A work life balance practice
Stress can be managed by external factors, for example: the situation is
getting better and causing no worries. However, it is more important
47
for the people themselves to deal with stress on their own: try to solve
the problem, arrange the time for busy schedule, meet with doctor or if
they cannot change anything, accept it as a matter of life
Sports and physical activity
Individuals should find their own ways of decreasing stress levels. For
example, involving in your favorite hobbies like jogging, yoga or
bicycling etc or playing video games for reasonable time. Maybe even
hanging out with friends.
Engage in fun and entertaining activities
Depending what causes the stress and how it affects each person, it is
important to remember even in the middle of rush day or week, have a
moment for yourself and do something that you like and that takes
your mind out of the stressful things, such as reading a book you like.
In case the stress has effects on your mental health, it is important to
see a doctor.
. Handling problem gently and positively.
Deep breath and repeat Jedi code 3 times
Attending parties with friends by accepting the situations, by sharing
with close friends
Seek for guidance on stressful issues and give yourself a "me time".
To organize school activities like games and entertainments programs
this will involve most students.
Through good structured counseling and stress management education
Staying focused and having enough rest
48
Having enough time for yourself and talking to others if there becomes
the need.
Handling situations positively
Reduce the number of hours for lectures to at least two hours
Minimizing quizzes and assignments
Gaining much leisure time
When you are being taught on how to manage it
Give each students a personal psychologist
By having enough sleep
Workload on students in terms of lecture and quizzes should be
reduced
Planning what to do
Proper time management
Eating well
Education on the need for resting etc
The above responses were related to how stress can be managed. Majority of
the respondents argue that having enough time and getting engaged in
extracurricular activities like sports and other entertaining hobbies play
significant role in helping to deal with stress. Also seeking guidance and
counseling or discussing with friend helps a lot.
12. How do you feel when you are stressed?
Here, respondents could choose more than one option. We had a total of 100
respondents. Majority of the students said they occasionally do not feel well.
Others said they cannot sleep at night. Average number of students said
feeling tired during the day and the least number said other things.
49
From the above information, we can conclude that most students of the
University Of Cape Coast School Of Business do not feel well when they are
stressed up.
50
CHAPTER FIVE
DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATION
Discussion
The purpose of this study was to discover the impact of stress on the
academic performance of University of Cape Coast School of Business
students. The study found that all the respondents have experienced one form
of Academic Stress or the other. This shows that academic stress is a common
phenomenon among the University of Cape Coast School of Business students
and we observed that it affects students’ academic performance.
The study further found that, students’ not hearing from their family
while on campus was the major source of academic stress even though there
were other sources such as how often they had enough money on them and
enough sleep.
More so, this study examined the relationship between academic stress
and academic performance. It found that overwhelming majority of the
students affirmed that academic stress affected their academic performance.
The findings are in agreement with Linn and Zeppa (1984) who claimed that
academic Stress can inhibit and suppress learning.
Finally, the findings concluded that, majority of the respondents argue
that having enough time and getting engaged in extracurricular activities like
sports and other entertaining hobbies play significant role in helping to deal
with stress. Also seeking guidance and counseling or discussing with friend
helps a lot. This finding is also in agreement line with Kaplan and Sadock
(2000) who claimed that academic stress can be positive thereby enhancing
learning.
51
The research method used to elicit information for the study was
questionnaire. The questionnaire was structured to consist of both closed and
open-ended type questions which were used to get answers from the
respondents. The use of carefully structured questionnaire enabled the
collection of large quantities of data and also had a wider coverage at less cost.
Few interviews were also conducted, personal observations were also made.
However, care was taken in order not to be biased in giving an objective
analysis of what was observed.
Conclusion
The study findings concluded that University of Cape Coast School of
Business student experience various degrees of academic stress which affects
their academic performance in school. The study established symptoms and
signs with which one can be able to identify students under Academic stress.
These were; not having enough sleep, feeling tired during the day and
occasionally do not feel well.
Further findings from the study indicated that students believe
academic stress has a big effect on their performance. Stress leads to
absenteeism in class, reduces academic morale of students and also leads to
failure in completing assignments on time. Hence, academic stress has an
inverse relationship with students’ performance. The more the stress, the less
the student will perform at school.
In addition to that, the study indicated that by educating students on
how to manage stress, staying focus, having enough rest, exercising a lot and
effective time management can help to manage stress in order to enhance
students’ academic performance.
52
Recommendations
Having concluded that academic stress has a negative effect on
students’ academic performance; it is also pertinent to make certain
recommendations and suggestions to help reduce academic stress on students.
Based on the results of the study, the following recommendations have been
made:
University authorities should ensure good academic environment for
the students and ensure that measures to minimize academic stress are put in
place, measures such as: appropriate course load, appropriate lecture hours,
proper lighting in lecture halls, proper lecture schedule, non- congested lecture
halls, and reduce load on assignment.
Guidance programs such as seminars and public lectures on stress
awareness should be organized periodically for students so that they can be
adequately equipped with the needed skills to handle issues related to
academic stress.
Students should be encouraged to make use of the counseling centers
provided by the university to help them build positive perception on academic
stress.
Lecturers and educators should focus on intrinsic motivation which
will have greater impact on students in achieving high academic performance
amidst academic stress.
Finally, Sports competition like football, volleyball, tennis and other
social activities like picnics, talent shows etc. should be organized for students
in order to release them from distress and enhance their academic
performance.
53
Suggestions for Further Study
The following suggestions are made for further study: Researchers
should research more on inter disciplines in order to find out how different
programs are perceived by students in terms of their stress levels, future
research should use larger sample size from other institutions to validate these
findings.
More research should be done to examine the effect of academic stress
on university student’s performance as a whole in relation to other universities
in order to investigate university activities that induce stress. Also an
investigation should be done on the effect of academic stress on students’
health.
Finally, more studies can be carried out using longitudinal method to
find the role culture and social class play in academic stress.
54
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65
APPENDIX
QUESTIONNAIRE
STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY
The researchers are final year students of the University of Cape Coast, School of
Business (Management Department) whose aim is to examine the impact of stress
on the academic performance of students of the University of Cape Coast School
of Business.
Respondents are encouraged to provide accurate information as possible. Responds
provided will be reviewed for the purpose of this research only and the identity of
respondents will as well be kept confidential.
Thank you for your time and cooperation
SECTION A: DEMOGRAHIC INFORMATION Please indicate with a mark
(√).
1. Sex
Male ( )
Female ( )
2. Age
Less than 20 ( )
21-25 ( )
26-30 ( )
31-39 ( )
3. Option in BCOM
Management ( )
Accounting ( )
Finance & others ( )
4. Level ……………………………….
66
5. Marital Status
Married ( )
Single ( )
Divorced ( )
SECTION B: SOURCES OF STRESSS
In this section, please use a mark (√) to indicate the extent to which you agree to each
of the items or questions. 0 = Never, 1 = Almost Never, 2 = Sometimes, 3 = Fairly
Often, 4 = Very Often
No.
Items/Questions
0
1
2
3
4
1.
How often do you exercise?
2.
Do you have enough sleep?
3.
How often do you take in a well-
balanced diet?
4.
Do you always have enough money on
you?
5.
How often do you hear from your family
whiles on campus?
6.
How often have you been able to
control distractions or disturbances of
friends and roommate on campus
7.
How often have you been angered
because of things that were outside of
your control on campus
8.
How often have you been following
your personal time table to help manage
your time?
67
SECTION C: ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Please on a scale of 1 to 5, indicate the extent to which you agree to the following
statements, where , SA STRONGLY AGREE A AGREE N NEUTRAL D
DISAGREE SD STRONGLY DISAGREE
No.
Stress on Academic Performance
SA
A
N
D
SD
9.
Stress does not help me to get good
grades in all courses
10.
Stress does not lead to my absenteeism
in class
11.
Stress does not reduce my academic
morale
12.
Stress does not lead to failure in
completing an assignment on time
13.
Stress does not distract my
attention during lectures
SECTION D: PLEASE YOU CAN TICK MORE THAN ONE ANSWER
14. How do you feel when you are stressed?
Feeling tired during the day ( )
Cannot sleep at night ( )
Occasionally do not feel well at times ( )
Others ( )
15 . In your opinion rate from 1-5, does stress influences students’ academic life?
1= strongly agree ( )
2=Agree ( )
3= Neutral ( )
4= Disagree ( )
5= Strongly Disagree ( )
68
16. In your opinion rate from 1-5, should stress awareness be taught at the
University?
1= strongly agree ( )
2=Agree ( )
3= Neutral ( )
4= Disagree ( )
5= Strongly Disagree ( )
17. In your own view how can stress be managed?
…………………………………………………………………………………………
……………….
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………
………………….
69
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