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Stress Management And Adaptation College Of Freshmen Students Education Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 4756 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Globally, almost everyday in school, students expressed about how much stress they are experience. Certainly, they identify the combination of hassle of school works, family, friends, and classroom environment as main contributors for their stress. Feeling stress is a fact of life for most people. But everyone feels and responds to it differently because individuals are unique. Stress has various effects to a person particularly among students. This can influence negatively to the daily functioning of the students inside or outside the school and also in their adjustment, when not handled properly.

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College students, especially freshmen, are a group particularly prone to stress (D’Zurilla&Sheedy, 1991) due to the transitional nature of college life (Towbes& Cohen, 1996; in www.questia.com). They must adjust to being away from home for the first time, maintain a high level of academic achievement, and adjust to a new social environment (www.questia.com). According to Lazarus, stress is what we feel when we think we’ve lost control of events (www.ezinearticle.com).

Pursuing a college education requires adjustment on the part of all students, though the type and degree of adjustment experienced by each student will vary depending on background, experience, and prior schooling (www.encyclopedia.com). Adjustment to college is critical for academic success. Poor college adjustment correlates with poor academic performance, low graduation rates, and poor success later in life (www.interscience.wiley.com).Past researches showed that adjustment difficulties are found to be the most common problems among first year students who are going through an active adjustment phase in college or universities. Therefore, adjustment difficulties among students should be given serious attention as a serious adjustment problem could lead to students’ failure to complete their studies (www.eurojournals.com).

Stress management is becoming important part of our modern life day lifestyle. It’s so important that students should have a number of stress management activities that will be exercise in a regular basis to keep the stress and strain of every life in check.

Here in the Philippines, particularly in the Saint Theresa’s College, the greatest number of student problems that cause them stressed was found in the areas of personal adjustment, school life and the future, according to Algoet (as cited in www.scribd.com).

As observed and responded by the counselors in the Student Development Center (SDC) of Cor Jesu College, based from their counseling session with the students, they reported that most of the first year students considered their subject instructors, peers, time schedule and school policies as factors to their adjustment difficulty in college. These factors also make the students become stress.

This study intends to find out whether there is a relationship between stress management and adaptation to college of freshmen student of the Department of Arts and Sciences and in CorJesu College of Digos City.

Theoretical Framework

This study anchored mainly on Tinto’s theoretical model of student attrition and persistence, which emphasized the significance of social adjustment among freshmen college students (Townsend-Green, 2009). The social adjustment is more the engagement with campus social activity of any college student. According to Tinto’s theory, social adjustment involves the process of integration. This social integration is the student’s ability to interface with the institution’s social system, which includes the frequency and quality of contact with peers and faculty, shared values in non-academic areas, and involvement in the life of the institution, outside of the classroom. His theory implied that the integration or lack thereof, into the college environment, can affect student’s abilities to adjust, persist, and eventually obtain a degree. His theory also suggested that the influence of institutional variables, such as peer group interaction, faculty-student interaction and extracurricular involvement, will help shape the students’ progression and adjustment through college.

In the same way, college students, especially freshmen, are a group particularly prone to stress due to the transitional nature of college life (Towbes & Cohen, 1996 and D’Zurilla & Sheedy, 1991; cited by Ross, Niebling, Heckert, 1999). They must adjust to being away from home for the first time, maintain a high level of academic achievement, and adjust to a new social environment. Overholser said that stress occur when there is not enough social support available to respond to the event effectively (Greenberg, 2008). Therefore, social support is important since it aids to a student to cope with the event, as well as decreases his or her level of stress and able to adjust easily and effectively.

In this study, stress management will be examined in terms of its relationship to adaptation to college of freshmen students in Arts and Sciences Department.

Conceptual Framework

To provide direction and flow of the study, a conceptual framework will be considered. The relationship between the two variables is shown in Figure.1. The independent variable of the study is stress management while adaptation to college is the dependent variable with factors: academic adjustment, social adjustment, personal-emotional adjustment and institutional attachment.

Independent variable Dependent variable

Stress Management

Adaptation to College

Academic adjustment

Social adjustment

Personal-emotional adjustment

Institutional attachment

Figure1. Conceptual Paradigm of the Study

Statement of the Problem

This study aimed to find out the relationship between stress management and adaptation to college of freshmen student in the Department of Arts and Sciences of Cor

Jesu College, school year 2010-2011.

Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following questions:

What is the demographic profile of the respondents in terms of:


Gender and


2. What is the profile of the respondents on Stress Management?

3. What is the profile of the respondents on Adaptation to College in terms of:

3.1 Academic adjustment

3.2 Social adjustment

3.3 Personal-emotional adjustment and

3.4 Institutional attachment?

4. Is their a relationship between Stress Management and Adaptation to College?


Ho1. There is no significant relationship between stress management and adaptation to college

Significance of the study

This study is significantly helpful to the following:

Students. The result of the study will help the student to gain knowledge and realize the importance of stress management in their adjustment. Likewise, it will help them to find ways to handle their stress.

Parents .The findings of the study will help them become aware the significance of their role in fostering successful adjustment towards their sons and daughters.

School Counselors .The result of the study will serves as a basis for continuing in-service education and identifying assessment tools for students who have adjustment difficulties.

Psychologists. This study will help them to have further understanding about the nature

of students in our modern society.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study focused on the stress management and adaptation to college of freshmen students in the Department of Arts and Sciences in Cor Jesu College of Digos City. The study covers the second semester of the School Year 2010-2011. The respondents were limited only to the regular students who enrolled the following courses: Bachelor of Arts in English (AB-English), Bachelor of Library Information Science (BLIS), Bachelor of Science in Psychology (BSP) and Bachelor of Science in Criminology (BSCrim).

Definition of Terms

For a clearer and better understanding of the study, the following terms were operationally defined:

Stress Management – Is a way or strategy exercised by the students in order to cope or alleviate their stress acquired within the school.

Adaptation to College – This term refers to the adaptation of the students to various factors involved to the new environment (the school).

Academic Adjustment – In this study it refers to the contentment of the students in the academic environment of the institution.

Social Adjustment – This refers to the satisfaction of the students in the social environment of the institution.

Personal-Emotional Adjustment – In this study it refers to the personal feelings of the students upon their adjustment period in college.

Institutional Attachment – This refers to the students’ strong connection or attachment to the institution or perseverance to complete their degree in the institution.



This chapter presents various studies and literature both local and foreign about stress management, college adaptation and the relationship between stress management and adaptation to college.

Related Literature

Several articles or write-ups concerning stress management, adaptation to college in four aspects: academic, social, personal-emotional and institutional attachment and the relationship of stress management and adaptation to college are presented and discussed.

Stress Management

Stress management begins with discipline because someone have to find ways to calm one self down as well as find techniques to tackle everything that is handed to someone (http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Importance-Of -StresManagement&id=329444).

In addition, stress management can help someone to either remove or change the source of stress, alter the way someone view a stressful event, lower the impact that stress might have on one’s body, and teach someone alternative ways of coping (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145855.php).

School Adjustment


Teachers may be regarded as potentially more powerful norm senders and models of behavior and may be expected to be the most salient providers of social support who influence students’ school satisfaction. For example, teachers can be responsible for including all students in a school community. By personalizing the school environment and making every individual student valuable and recognized as a highly esteemed person, teachers can create a culture for sensitive and responsive interaction among the people in the school environment. On the basis of concrete knowledge of the individual students, teachers can take initiatives such as celebrating events important to the students, showing the students positive attention and interest, and providing warmth and care in the everyday life at school. For example, by making room and time for planned and repeated conversations with students, the connectedness between students and teachers can be strengthened. The teacher’s role in fostering social bonds between classmates may be displayed through pedagogical approaches like organizing task cooperation and encouraging fellowship. This can contribute to feelings of belonging and school satisfaction (http://www.highbeam. com/doc /1G1-194330617.html).

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Furthermore, the teacher-child relationship may serve important support functions for young children in their attempts to adjust to the school environment. Dependency in the teacher-child relationship emerged as a strong correlate of school adjustment difficulties, including poorer academic performance, more negative school attitudes, and less positive engagement with the school environment. In addition, teacher-rated conflict was associated with teachers’ ratings of children’s school liking, school avoidance, self-directedness, and cooperative participation in the classroom. Finally, teacher-child closeness was positively linked with children’s academic performance, as well as teachers’ ratings of school liking and self-directedness (http://www.sciencedirect.com).


New college students need to adjust to changes in their relationships. Students make new friends and develop new peer groups in college. In fact, students who remain preoccupied with friends from home tend not to adjust well to college. College is often a place where one is more likely to meet people who are different from oneself in terms of ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic status (http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3403200026.html).

However,friendly socializing with classmates is believed to influence students’ satisfaction with school because it may nurture the need for relatedness. In addition to strengthening the bonding between students, positive student interaction may nurture students’ needs for competence and autonomy through a shared focus on learning activities. By sharing ways of problem solving, giving and receiving positive responses on tasks, providing positive attitudes toward school work, and encouraging student dialog and cooperation, social support from classmates can represent effective support of learning and contribute to constructing a pro-learning culture in the academic domain. Social support from classmates can provide incentives for further learning. Reciprocal social support can also provide students other growth experiences, both personal and cognitive: personal experiences because, for example, helping others may strengthen the students’ perceived self-worth and nurture the needs for relatedness, autonomy, and competence; and cognitive experiences because students’ levels of understanding may be enhanced through, for example, mediating the content of a subject to others (http://www.highbeam. com/doc /1G1-194330617.html).

Moreover, children with a larger number of classroom friends during school entrance developed more favorable school perceptions by the second month, and those who maintained these relationships liked school better as the year progressed. Making new friends in the classroom was associated with gains in school performance, and early peer rejection forecasted less favorable school perceptions, higher levels of school avoidance, and lower performance levels over the school year (http://www.jstor.og/pss/1130877).

Berndt (1992, 1999; Berndt & Keefe, 1992, 1996; cited in www.education.com) proposed that friends influence one another in two ways: (1) students are affected by the attitudes, behaviors, and other characteristics of their friends; and (2) students are influenced by the quality of friendships. Both positive friend characteristics and intimate relationships affect school adjustment in constructive fashion.

Friendships support children in the school environment and assist with their adjustment (Newman, 2000). Students with a friend in the classroom can use that peer as a source of support to deal with problems and avoid becoming lonely (www.education.com)

School tasks

Self-efficacy beliefs are influenced by a self-appraisal of capabilities, and students’ judgments of their scholastic competence are believed to influence their general self-efficacy. Scholastic competence is limited to the academic domain at school, and it represents students’ cognitive self-evaluative judgments about their present abilities to accomplish tasks. This self-concept about scholastic competence can indicate students’ self-perceptions of their capacity to be successful in the academic domain, which may play an important role in shaping achievement outcomes. Scholastic competence is important for students’ adjustment to schooling and is therefore likely to be associated with their satisfaction with school (Akey, 2006; Bandura, 1986; Harter, 1982, in http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-194330617.html).

Students who have struggled academically are at higher risk of school avoidance, and ultimately dropping out, than those who are successful. Ideally, school is a place that makes students feel competent and successful, which breeds motivation and self-confidence. For the struggling student, however, school is often a place that only serves to reinforce his already low self-esteem. He does not see himself as a “good student,” nor does he believe it is possible for him to ever become a good student, especially if he has participated in past interventions that have only proven to be frustrating and unsuccessful. The student attempts to avoid these feelings of failure by staying home (www.suite101.com).

Classroom Environment

For most college students, the transition to the college classroom requires an adjustment of academic habits and expectations. They often must study harder, improve their study habits, and take school more seriously. Classes are larger, instructors have differing teaching styles, the pace is faster, written work is more frequent, reading assignments are lengthier, standards are higher, and the competition is more acute (http://www. Encyclopedia .com/doc/1G2-3403200026.html).

The Relationship of Stress Management and School Adjustment

According to Towbes& Cohen (1996; cited by Greenberg, 2006) college students are particularly prone to chronic stress as a result of their experiencing and having to manage developmental transitions. The stress experienced by college students can interfere with the learning processes (acquisition, manipulation, and consolidation of knowledge) necessary for academic success.

If stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school (http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-topic-overview).

However, the way in which a student copes with the stress of college may also have an effect on their adjustment to the college environment. A number of studies have looked at the connection between individual coping and adaptation to college, most reporting that active coping styles were related to more positive adaptation to college (Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.).

Further, social support from family, friends, and adults outside the home has been found to be a critical aspect of how students deal with stress and adjust to their expanding environment (Compas, Slavin, Wagner, &Vannatta, 1986; Hirsch &DuBois, 1992;cited in http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=LqWLCtDBktW2vNJTlB2byqN L2v1 GzX7yQlDspK7rGTxYnPJN2Wyh!-1387723883!-568313894?docId= 5001373158).

On the other hand, several authors propose that the importance of understanding the nature of the stress and social support that students with learning problems experience is underscored by the fact that both have been shown to be related to student adjustment in middle school. Further, the areas of adjustment that often become problematic for students without learning problems during the middle school period (including low self-concept, feelings of depression, and decreased motivation for school, also happen to be areas that can be particularly problematic for students with learning problems Therefore, understanding stress and social support, and their relationship to adjustment in middle school for students with learning problems, may shed light on these (http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;j sessionid =LqWLCtDBktW2 vNJTlB2by qNL2 v1GzX7yQlDspK7rGTxYnPJN2Wyh!-1387723883!-568313894?docId= 5001373158).

Ples, B. (1998) stated that a college career and environment certainly place stresses of many kinds on students. However, except for those who cannot cope with stress and must thus leave college, the satisfactions are greater than the stresses and frustrations. Many factors in college life, formal and informal, either produce or relieve stress on individual students. Other than the test and difficult subjects, many of these factors tend to relieve stress more than produce it. Such as social activities, attending or taking part in sports activities, receiving reports of academic standings-these give relief and satisfaction to those who may undertake them.

Wilson, M. J (1991) said that children have less maneurability to deal with their stressor than do adults. Starting with their entrance into school, even relatively relaxed children have great deal to handle. All at once they have to face a structured, confined environment, discipline, competitive peer pressure, and teacher and parental pressure and expectations.

Katkovsky&Gorlow (1976) proposed that environmental factors influence adjustment. There is continued interest in the effects of early experiences and those associated with childhood rearing on subsequent personality characteristics and disturbances.

Many school adjustment problems appear to have lasting or cumulative effects; problems that arise early in children’s school careers are often perpetuated by social-psychological factors (e.g., reputational bias, self-fulfilling prophesies) or are exacerbated when nascent difficulties undermine later progress (Butler, Marsh, Sheppard, 1985; Coie&Dodge, 1983; Horn & Packard, 1985; Perry, Guidubaldi, &Kehle, 1974; cited in http://www.jstor.org/pss/1130877).

Related Studies

A few related studies were read thoroughly from foreign and national resources. The following are herewith presented:

Jeremy Adler (2008); cited in http://www.3.interscience.com) in his study on “College adjustment in University of Michangan Students with Crohn’s and Colitis” he comes into conclusion that students with active Crohn’s and Colitis adjust less well to college life. Physically and emotional factors likely contribute. He states that more aggressive medical therapy and better emotional support before and during college may result in happier and healthier college students, leading to higher graduation rates and future success.

Boardway R.H, Delamater A.M, Tomakowsky J. and Gutni J.P (1993; cited in http://jpepsy.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/18/1/29) made a study on Stress Management Trimming (SMT) for adolescents with Diabetes. They evaluated the effects of Stress Management Trimming (SMT) for adolescents with diabetes in 9 month controlled treatment outcome study. Nine patients were randomly assigned to a stress management group while another in patients served as controls and received standard outpatient treatment. The findings suggest a SMT program for adolescents with diabetes may be helped in reducing diabetes- specific stress, but additional procedures are necessary to improve adherence, coping styles, and metabolic control.

DeGrauw and Norcross (1989, in http://findarticles.com) in their study, they found that controlling for distress severity, more active coping strategies were positively correlated with self-reported success, whereas more avoidant strategies were negatively correlated with self– reported success. Positive academic adjustment and personal-emotional adjustment were predicted by active coping in a study by Leong, Bonz, and Zachar (1997,in http://findarticles.com).

Vogel, Raymond and Lazarus (1959) cited by Katkovsky and Gorlow, 1976) they found that subjects who were motivated primarily towards achievement (success academically and vocationally) rather than toward affiliation (with warm, friendly interpersonal relations) were not stressed by threat to the latter motivation but were considerably disturbed by the implication that they were failing on a test of their capacity to succeed academically and vocationally, conversely, subjects with a strong motivation toward affiliation and weak motivation achievements were disturbed only when their capacity to established friendly relations with others were impugned and not when they failed in a test of their achievement potentials.

In a study by Isakson et al, (1999; cited in www.nrcres.org)employed a short term longitudinal design to assess the adjustment of adolescents as theymode from junior high to high school andfound that the adolescents did experiencesignificant changes during the initial transitioninto high school that were related to senseof school membership, perceived supportfrom parents was also related to adolescentsadjustment to the transition.



This chapter presents the research design, setting, participants, measures, procedures and data analysis.


The study employed a descriptive-correlational design (Calmorin L. &Calmorin M., 1995). It was used to describe the responses of the participants in stress management and adaptation to college, and to determine the relationship of the independent variable to the dependent variable.


The study was conducted at Cor Jesu College, a Catholic Educational Institution located at Sacred Heart Avenue, Digos City, Province of Davao del Sur.


The participants in this study were composed of 77 first year regular students who were enrolled in Bachelor of Arts major in English (AB-English), Bachelor of Library Information Science (BLIS), Bachelor of Science in Psychology (BSP) and Bachelor of Science in Criminology (BSCrim). They were selected using a stratified random sampling.

Table 1. The Sample Population of the study



























The study utilized two sets of questionnaires for the gathering of data needed in identifying the relationship of stress management and adaptation to college. To assess stress management, a Stress Management Inventory Survey by Peter Dominick, Ph.D. of Stevens Institute of Technology was adopted. It consists of 10 items and rated using a Likert’s 6-point scale (1= strongly disagree, 2= disagree, 3= slightly disagree, 4= slightly disagree, 5= agree, and 6= strongly disagree).

Adaptation was measured through Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ) constructed by Baker and Syrik (1989). The questionnaire comprised of 67 self-rating responses. Rating were made on a 9-point scale raging from (1= doesn’t apply to me at all, to 9= applies very closely to me). SACQ is divided into four subscales that focus on four aspects of adjustment to college: academic adjustment, social adjustment, personal-emotional adjustment, and institutional attachment.

Data Gathering

Having found the questionnaire valid and reliable, the researcher then sought the approval of the Dean of College and the Department Head of Arts & Sciences of CorJesu College, to allow him to conduct the study. A letter of permission was given to the Dean of College as well as to the Department Head. After the approval of these officials, the researcher then administers the survey questionnaires personally to the respondents during their free time. Each participant was given two (2) sets of questionnaires with consent letter attached in the front page. They were given 20-30 minutes to complete answering the questionnaires. The questionnaires were retrieved immediately after they have finished.

Data Analysis

The data were analyzed and presented by the used of descriptive and inferential statistic such as frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation, and weighted mean to measure and describe the responses of the respondents. To test the relationship of the independent variable and the dependent variable, a Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient or Pearson r was utilized.


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