Causes and Effects of Stress on High School and College Students


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Causes and Effects of Stress on High School and College Students

            Stress is an inevitable human phenomenon. Different factors in the environment cause stress. Relationship with family and friends, psychological and physical factors, schoolwork and tests, search for job or potential spouse, are among the known stress factors in college students. Stress level is higher in college students compared to high school students. The high school students experience stress because of the overwhelming physical and psychological changes they experience in their adolescent stage. College students on the other hand, stress because of life realities, especially the shift from dependence to self-dependence. In this paper, I will identify major factors that lead to stress in college and high school students, and discuss the effects of stress on these students and possible ways of dealing with stress.

Stress is part of human life, and no one can live a stress-free life, therefore, it is better for individuals to identify their stress factors and learn how to manage their stress levels, in order to alleviate its adverse effects on health (Baqutayan and Moukhtar 19). Stress results from a chemical imbalance, due to different reasons such as tests, academic papers and projects, financial instability, and worries about the future. College students are more ambitious and dreamful, and so more vulnerable to stress. Causes of stress can be behavioral, psychosomatic, or psychological. Behavioral factors include relationship problems and alcoholism. Psychological factors include anger, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and low satisfaction. Psychosomatic factors include, sleep problems and health complications such as high blood pressure and ulcers. Stress levels, however, vary in boys and girls, and they experience effects of stress differently (Baqutayan and Moukhtar 20-22).

Most college students cannot cope up with stress, thus leading to further stress. When stress is extreme, it harms an individual psychologically and physically. People should maintain a minimal stress level to avoid health complications. Students in high school are teenagers who are stressed about their academic performance, their career choices, and social relationships with their peers. On the other hand, mature college students experience stress on a different level. They feel the pressure of finding a good job, searching for a long-term partner, earning good grades and a quality degree, relationship problems, among others.

Females students’ major stress factors include financial problems, rejection in relationships, failing tests, break-ups, and time pressure. Family relationships also determine their stress levels. Family problems are a source of stress for students. The kind of friends a student hangs with could lead to stress, depending relationship type, and the values they uphold. Sleeping habits are a stress factor. Students who sleep for less than five hours register high stress levels than those who sleep for longer hours. This affects their academic performance. Physical appearance of students, especially females, is another major stress factor. Obese students and those who feel less attractive experience low self-esteem, which boosts their stress levels. Male students may experience low self-esteem if they are not well built, with biceps and muscles. Loneliness and feelings of rejection leads to solitary life, thereby increasing stress levels.

Effects of stress are experienced in body, mind, and behavior. Different individuals experience these in different ways. The height of these effects is influenced by the way an individual deals with stress. If management of stress aims at alleviating it, effects will not be destructive. However, if an individual chooses a corrupt way of dealing with stress, the effects will be lethal.

Impacts of stress on college students can be severe or mild. Stress leaves students overwhelmed and they find it hard to fit into their normal life. Some may indulge in drinking as a way to escape the reality. Female students are likely to experience weight issues. When stressed, overeating or under eating occurs, leading to weight gain or loss. These extremes force girls to develop eating disorders afterwards. When students experience high levels of stress and fail to manage the stress, they become overwhelmed, and detached. This leads to poor performance and productivity both in academics and social life. What results are poor grades, and some will give up on school and drop out. This to some point explains why fewer students graduate, contrary to the expected number (Baqutayan and Moukhtar 25-29).

College stress must be kept under control. Students need to feel college life as an exciting learning experience and not an experience to be endured. Stress is the cause of many problems among youth and its effects can be as deadly as suicide. Parents, teachers, students themselves and the whole nation must therefore play a collective role in ensuring helpful information is communicated to students for them  to manage their stress levels responsibly.


Works Cited

Baqutayan, Mohamed and Moukhtar, Mai. “Stress, Strain and Coping

Mechanisms: An Experimental Study of Fresh College Students.” Academy of

Educational Leadership Journal 16.1 (2012): 19-30. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web. 25

Oct. 2012.


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