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Relation between stress, time management, and academic achievement in preclinical medical education: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Department Medical Education, Virtual School of Medical Education and Management, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
1 Deprtment of Medical Education, Fasa University of Medical Sciences, Fasa, Iran
2 Elderly Health Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Population Sciences Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Identifying the learners' problems is important. Besides, many factors are associated with academic failure, among which time management and stress are more important than any others based on evidence. By using a systematic review and meta-analysis, this study aims to synthesize the findings of studies about the correlation of time management and stress with academic failure to suggest a more in-depth insight into the effect of these two factors on academic failure. Four databases were searched from the inception of January 2018. Publication bias was evaluated visually using funnel plots and sized up by Egger's test. Ninety-four articles were found to be qualified for inclusion after full-text review and additional manual reference made. Of these, 8 were studies of educational interventions that were reviewed in this paper. Regarding the relation of stress and academic performance, the Funnel plot (results not shown) and Egger's test showed no publication bias in the studies ( P = 0.719). Based on this result, the estimated pooled correlation (reverted by hyperbolic tangent transformation) between stress and academic performance was found to be -0.32 (95% confidence interval: -0.38–-0.25). In conclusion, the review recognized a series of potentially mutable medium-to-large correlates of academic achievement, time management, and stress. It would be essential to have experimental data on how easily such self-regulatory capacities can be altered, and these interventions could help students enhance their potential, providing empirical tests for offered process models of academic achievement.
Identifying the learners' issues early and offering advice from the start is an essential investment in the training and progress of future practitioners.[ 1 ] The National Committee on Internal Medicine (1999) has described the learner as a trainee who identifies the underlying problems that required to be addressed by a program leader or manager.[ 2 ] Some educators have expressed their concern about difficult learners in case they negatively affect educational programs and other students. Although studies may predict different elements, medical educators would like to be able to predict merely.[ 3 ]
Academic failure is a problem that has turned out to be a central concern for countries in different parts of the world. In order to find the different causes of academic failure, several research projects in this field have been performed. Typically, students experience academic issues with academic and nonacademic characteristics, and the various combinations of reasons for academic failure result in different types of student profiles, suggesting different strategies of intervention.[ 4 ]
The evidence indicates that when intervention techniques are applied for failed students, their performance improves in the subsequent academic year.[ 5 ] Ahmady et al . indicate that failed students can be assisted in becoming successful in the classroom when appropriate intervention techniques are applied. Usually, in research concerning student learning and behavioral outcomes, certain personal attributes of the students are measured, which are then related to some outcome measure. Among these, study skills, such as time management, is one of the factors affecting academic achievement and also stress.[ 6 ]
Personal characteristics are personality, motivation, self-concept, cognitive style, intelligence, and locus of control. Nevertheless, some environmental and contextual difficulties, which lead to unsuccessful learning, are not considered. The purpose of this study is to identify the factors related to the failure of college students.[ 4 ]
Many factors have been related to academic failure.[ 1 ] Ahmady et al . indicate that 21 factors related to academic failure in preclinical medical students, and study skill and stress is reported to be more important among other factors. We have found several studies[ 7 , 8 ] that suggest time management is perhaps more important than any other study strategies.[ 6 ]
West et al . (2011) show that study skills (time management) are usually powerful predictors of first-semester academic performance in medical school and other higher education disciplines.[ 7 ] Practical time management skills are essential. Students who do not plan their time effectively run out of time before running out of the content. Relatively, few studies have investigated the joint contribution of academic performance and study skills.[ 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 ]
Another reason is that medical education is inherently stressful and demanding. An ideal level of stress can increase the level of learning, while over-stress can cause health problems, leading to a decrease in students' self-esteem and failure in their academic competence. A high level of stress can affect the students' learning process in medical school negatively.[ 13 ] Sources of stress include curriculum, personal competence, tolerance, and time outside of medical school. Increased anxiety is associated with increased depression and anxiety.[ 14 , 15 ]
Knowledge about the effective size of these factors (time management and stress) can help policymakers, managers, medical teachers, and counselors track the students' academic failure. It is essential to integrate the evidence produced through all studies to obtain useful information, help medical students, and provide directions for future studies. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the findings of studies concerning time management and stress associated with academic failure. It suggests a more in-depth insight into the effect of these two factors on the students' academic failure.
Materials and Methods
This systematic review was carried out following PRISMA guidelines.[ 16 ]
PubMed, Web of Knowledge Educational Resources, and Information Center, and Scopus databases were searched.
Using the search No., time limitation was set for searching the resources. For comprehensiveness of the search, the following keywords were used in the abstract, title, and keyword sections: “academic performance” and “academic failure” or “academic achievement” and “drop out;” “medical student” and “struggle student;” “time management” and “stress.” Hand searching was also done in Medical Teacher and Medical Education journals. Furthermore, reference lists of many articles were reviewed to identify the relevant papers. The most celebrated authors in this area were contacted for “gray literature:” conference proceedings, unpublished studies, and internal reports. The obtained data were included in the study. The inclusion criteria for the articles were as follows: being a correlation between study skill and stress with academic performance, observational study design, preclinical medical students, without any language, or time limitation from January 1987 to January 2018.
Inclusion and exclusion criteria
The exclusion criteria for the search were being secondary research or not being a preclinical medical student. All the databases were searched by one reviewer, and Endnote X8 was applied for data management. The articles were imported into Endnote X8 to remove the duplicate data before importing the data into Excel. The imported data were the list of authors, titles, journals, and years of publication. Two team members (N Kh and SA) screened the titles and abstracts to determine the potentially relevant articles. The full-text version of the study was then reviewed if the study met the selection criteria or if there was any doubt concerning the study's eligibility. Furthermore, a third independent researcher was requested to resolve any disagreements.
The study quality was rated on STROBE guidelines. Over 100 journals have endorsed STROBE guidelines ( http://www.strobe-statement.org ).[ 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 ] Studies were rated for each of the following: title and abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, data collection methods, and other information. This yielded a quality rating with a range from 8 to 22.
Data extraction and analysis
As several different variables were tested in each article, thus the article names were repeated. Studies were coded according to author (publication year), effective factors in academic performance, measurement method, type of R, type of analysis, location, and type of study [ Table 1 ]. Two reviewers extracted data from the included articles. They compared extractions and resolved differences through discussion or with a third nonauthors.
Data extraction of articles related to study skill (time management) and stress
SMART=Study management and academic results test
This meta-analysis was conducted via Stata 15.0 software (StataCorp. 2017. Stata Statistical Software: Release 15. College Station, TX: StataCorp LLC). As the distribution of the correlation was highly skewed, the inverse hyperbolic tangent transformation (z = tangh-1(rho) =1/2 ln ((rho + 1)/(rho - 1))) was applied. All the calculations were based on the transformed values. The Cochran's Q test and The I 2 statistic were used to assess and characterize the extent of the heterogeneity, respectively. I 2 -50% was indicated as considerable heterogeneity. Given the high heterogeneity of the data, the random-effects model was used. We used hyperbolic tangent transformation (rho = tangh (z) = [e 2 z - 1]/[e 2 z + 1]) to change the pooled estimates (and its 95% confidence intervals [CI]) to the pooled correlation. All the individual studies results were reported with 95% CIs and demonstrated in a forest plot. Publication bias was evaluated visually using funnel plots and sized up by Egger's test. A P < 0.05 was statistically significant.
The study selection initial database searches retrieved 13,123 articles. After exclusion of duplicate references, conference abstracts, screening titles and abstracts, 6305 articles were selected for further review (title and abstract). A total of 100 articles were found eligible for inclusion after full-text review and additional manual reference screening. Five articles, including the studies of educational interventions, were reviewed in this paper [ Figure 1 ].
Study flowchart demonstrates the inclusion-exclusion process
Study setting and populations.
Most of the studies were completed in Europe (50%), 2 (25%) USA, and 2 (25%) Asia.
Type of design
The majority design in the articles was prospective, followed by correlational [ Table 1 ].
Aims of studies
The purpose of the studies was to report the effect level of the study skill (time management) and stress on academic performance.
Regarding the relation of stress and academic performance, the Egger' test and Funnel plot (results not shown) indicated that there was no publication bias in the studies ( P = 0.719). The same was obtained when we evaluated the relation of the study skill (time management) and academic performance, not statistically significant ( P = 0.833).
The individual studies transformed between stress and academic performance were shown in a forest plot [ Figure 2 ]; based on this result, pulled correlation (result from hyperbolic tangent transformation) between stress and academic performance was found to be – 0.32 (95% CI [-0.38, -0.25]).
Correlation between stress and academic failure
The individual studies transformed between study skill (time management) and academic performance were demonstrated in a forest plot [ Figure 3 ]; based on this result, pulled correlation (result from hyperbolic tangent transformation) between stress and academic performance was found to be 0.39 (95% CI [0.29, 0.47]).
Correlation between study skill (time management) and academic failure
To the authors' knowledge, this is the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence concerning the effect of study skill (time management) and stress on academic performance.
Overall, with this review, we found medium to high-quality evidence from a modest number of studies, suggesting that study skills (time management) and stress significantly affect academic achievement: study skill (time management) (ES: 0.39) and stress (ES: -0.32).
However, research suggests that study skills (time management) are also significant factors affecting academic achievement in medical schools.[ 8 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 , 25 ]
Study skills are one of the more reliable predictors of first-semester total grades.[ 7 ] The predictive strength of first-semester final average is accounted for by scores on time management,
Teaching time management rules, such as preventing postponement, previewing data, reviewing material shortly right after presented, prioritizing items, handling study periods, reviewing repeatedly, and making time for other commitments, is an essential component.[ 26 ]
For instance, sometimes, students procrastinate studying material they have problem with or do not see the applicability of. In this instance, seminars or counseling, which concentrate on arranging these projects for one's optimum time of day such that it will be simpler to focus on the material and reduce procrastination, may be offered.[ 27 ]
Time management aims to improve the nature of activities that require a limited time. The inability to use time in the learning process is the main problem for the students. Previous studies have shown that the excessive intensity of courses affects productivity negatively. In this situation, medical students, who have to cope with an intensive training curriculum, may inevitably but efficiently make the most of their time. To succeed in the education process, medical students must set goals for their education and plan for appropriate academic progress. They, therefore, have to follow course schedules, be prepared for examinations, and use the time available for other activities.[ 28 ]
Another significant issue is that there is a substantial increase in stress levels during study times, in the 1 st year in particular.[ 29 ] Perceived stress is a key factor in discriminating among students with low versus high academic performance.[ 30 ] First-year students face different challenges that can be seen as potential stressors. They have to get familiar with a new environment, get into contact with other students, choose their lectures and seminars, participate in extracurricular activities, and manage their first tests. Another source of students' perceived stress is time-related demands, such as an increasing workload, time pressure, and regulation of their self-study.[ 31 ]
Pfeiffer notes that too much stress is negatively associated with students' readiness, focus, and performance, while positive stress helps the student achieve maximum performance.[ 32 ] It should also be recommended that this situation is the first exam in which students are exposed to a significant amount of integrated curriculum. Often, students are suggested by their seniors to pursue an education in the coming years; thus, they can lower the stress levels, control stress in a better way, and enhance their academic performance.
Managing self-efficacy, flexibility, and social support also are related to academic achievement; thus, intervening to enhance self-efficacy, resilience, and social support may lessen the perception that stress is affecting performance.
The limitation of this review is that statistically significant time management and stress have not been reported in all studies.
This review of 31 years of research on the correlation of stress, time management, and academic failure has been devoted to the understanding of the effect of time management and stress on academic achievement of medical students. This systematic review and meta-analysis are the first in the field. We wish that this work provides a base for more focused research and intervention. Finally, our review and others have identified a series of potentially modifiable medium-to-large correlates of academic achievement, time management and stress in particular. It would be worthful to have experimental data on how easily such self-regulatory capacities can be altered, as well as for whom, over what period, and to what extent do such changes to be effective academic performance. These interventions could help students develop their potential and would provide empirical tests for proposed process models of academic achievement.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest.
There are no conflicts of interest.
The authors would like to thank all of authorities and students at Medical School in Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences for their assistance.
Thesis Statement About Stress In College
This sample essay on Thesis Statement About Stress In College provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Stress management is an inevitable thing in the modern industrialized society. The pressures of college life make it stressful necessitating learning of some mechanisms and skills to cope with and manage stress in the day-to-day life. Definition. Stress can be defined as the wear and tear our bodies experience as we adjust and adapt to our changing environment.
(Whitman, 1985). Stress is both physiological and psychological. We also need to distinguish stress from stressors. “Stressors are demands made by the internal or external environment that upset balance, thus affecting physical and psychological well-being and requiring action to restore balance” (Lazarus & Cohen, 1977).
It is important to note that these internal and external pressure, for instance, financial constraints, family separation are just stressors and one’s response to such occurrences constitutes stress.
Without learning the art of stress management, individuals will be ineffective in whatever they are engaged. College students are not exception. A loaded curriculum, work-study programs and involvement in such things as drug all add up to students’ stress. Failure for college students to learn and develop good stress management strategies, learning will be difficult or extremely cumbersome rather than being an interesting engagement.
Causes of stress Well, there can be no stress unless there are stressors. in this part of the paper; we will explore some of the possible causes of stress (stressors) in college.
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Stress Management Thesis Statement
1) Inadequate money
Some parents or guardians may not give or afford for their college students enough money to meet their educational and personal needs. When a student gets so much involved psychology with an issue like this, he/she is likely to be stressed and weighed down.
It is believed that over 90% college students are in relationships (dating) college relations are characterized with such issues as unfaithfulness, drunkenness and other negatives like separations triggered by peer pressure. These issues make college students in relationships vulnerable to stress as they fall prey to such stressors.
3) Change of new environment
In most cases, students attending college are required to relocate from home to college. This change of environment is likely to be a stressor and actually many college students are prone this form of stress.
4) Parental expectations
Some parents have too high expectations for their children. Such parents may actually communicate the same to their college going children. When a student knows that the parent has such high up expectations of him/her, he /she is likely to be stressed especially when they are engulfed by the fear that they are not likely to attain/reach their parents expectations. Also over-indulging in studying so as to please their parents by meeting these expectations may cause stress.
5) Unrealistic expectations
Both the students and their parents may have unrealistic expectations. For instance, a student may set too high a target for himself. In the effort to achieve these expectations, students may work harder and this may drain them psychologically and physically leading to stress.
6) Social pressures
As noted elsewhere in this paper, peer pressure is one of the major causes of stress in college students. As one joins college, he meets cliques in the school setup. These small groups have their own distinct cultures. As a student joins some of these small groups, he is required to change and adapt to the group’s culture. Changing of one’s behavioral patterns and adapting to new ones may be stressful. Also such groups may engage in stressful activities.
7) New responsibilities
A college student may be assigned a number of responsibilities on top of the coursework, for instance, he/she may be made the president of a club among others, and these added responsibilities may weigh heavy on the student thereby causing stress. Other causes include, change in sleeping habits, stress-prone diet, and extra-curricular activities. Stress may have positive effects.
Importance of stress To some people, every time the term stress is mentioned, they associate it with negative results/effects. But this is not true. Not all stress is negative or bad. Infact, almost everyone needs some stress in his or her life for without it life would be gloomy, dull and uninteresting. “Insufficient stress acts as a depressant” (www.ivf.com/stress.html.) Stress makes life bright, adds flavor, challenge to life. Stress helps to jump- start us. The challenge and opportunities created by stress are vital in developing new and essential skills for life.
We will be cheating ourselves if we entertain the thought that we can avoid stress. Put bluntly, stress is an unavoidable part of life but if managed well, it can be a very constructive motivational factor in our lives.
Negative Effects 1) Alcohol and drug addition. When college students are confronted with stress they may not have positive strategies to cope with such pressure. This may make them resort to alcohol and drug abuse as a means to relieve stress.
2) Headaches, chest pain among others. Excess stress may cause aches to students and this may make them in effective in their learning.
3) Irritable and anger prone. This may severe his/her relationship with other students and even teachers. This obviously has a negative effect on learning.
4) Sleeplessness. Stress makes the student to lack sleep and this will negatively affects their learning process as they may feel drowsy and lazy during class time.
5) Unethical behaviors. Student stressed up due to lack of adequate finances may resort in to such behaviors as commercial sex and stealing and this may hinder their learning.
Stress has a chain of effects and symptoms. They all point out that one’s life is not managed well. Well, stress may make a student to be overwhelmed but such bursts of adrenaline that helps students to finish their assignment within the stipulated time, face some challenges and do well in some areas is actually positive stress. “Stressors, such as noise or sleep loss, act by either increasing or decreasing the arousal level of the individual relative to the optimum level for a given task (Hockey & Hamilton, 1983). As we have seen stress has both positive and negative effects.
Stress management strategies Having explored some of the effects of stress on college students, it is clear that failure for students to learn smart stress management and coping strategies can be detrimental to college students. Learning stress management skill is almost a must for students if they have to become productive individuals both in school and in the community, some of these strategies can be helpful to students:
1) Exercise: physical exercise helps students to relieve themselves of stress. Students should learn how to cope and manage stress through physical exercises. Students should make exercise part and parcel of their curriculum. They should be discouraged from using temporary solutions such as drugs (caffeine)
2) Having enough sleep: student should learn to get enough sleep so that their minds and bodies get relaxed. They should learn to invest in adequate and healthy sleep. This must not be optional.
3) Relaxing techniques: students should learn techniques to help them relax both their minds and bodies. This can be done through such avenues as enjoying soothing music medication, massage, and deep breathing. “Techniques such as biofeedback…are used. Biofeedback aim to develop awareness and control of responses to stressors” (Glanz et al, 2002)
4) Getting organized: Student must learn to prioritizing tasks through the help of a
Work schedule otherwise they will have “so much to do, so little time”(Williams, 1996). When students learn to get organized they avoid stress emanating from failure to complete tasks within the required time.
5) Enjoy humor: laughter is medicine, so they say. Students should learn to stop being too serious sometimes and this will help them cope with stress. They should learn to enjoy humor and laughter. They should learn to take a break from books and smell the roses. Stopping procrastinations, learning to say no to some responsibilities which one doesn’t have adequate time for are all strategies that can help students manage and cope with stress effectively in college.
Students should learn effective strategies in management and coping with stress so that their detrimental effects can be counteracted. When such strategies are mastered, stress becomes a challenge to facilitate learning. Stress management should be made part of the college curriculum to help them overcome some of these negative effects and capitalize on the positive hence learn more effectively
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Academic Stress and Mental Well-Being in College Students: Correlations, Affected Groups, and COVID-19
- 1 Department of Neurology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, United States.
- 2 Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, United States.
- 3 Office for Diversity and Community Engagement, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, United States.
- 4 Department of Biology, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, United States.
- PMID: 35677139
- PMCID: PMC9169886
- DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.886344
Academic stress may be the single most dominant stress factor that affects the mental well-being of college students. Some groups of students may experience more stress than others, and the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic could further complicate the stress response. We surveyed 843 college students and evaluated whether academic stress levels affected their mental health, and if so, whether there were specific vulnerable groups by gender, race/ethnicity, year of study, and reaction to the pandemic. Using a combination of scores from the Perception of Academic Stress Scale (PAS) and the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (SWEMWBS), we found a significant correlation between worse academic stress and poor mental well-being in all the students, who also reported an exacerbation of stress in response to the pandemic. In addition, SWEMWBS scores revealed the lowest mental health and highest academic stress in non-binary individuals, and the opposite trend was observed for both the measures in men. Furthermore, women and non-binary students reported higher academic stress than men, as indicated by PAS scores. The same pattern held as a reaction to COVID-19-related stress. PAS scores and responses to the pandemic varied by the year of study, but no obvious patterns emerged. These results indicate that academic stress in college is significantly correlated to psychological well-being in the students who responded to this survey. In addition, some groups of college students are more affected by stress than others, and additional resources and support should be provided to them.
Keywords: COVID-19; Perception of Academic Stress; Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale; academic stress; college students; well-being.
Copyright © 2022 Barbayannis, Bandari, Zheng, Baquerizo, Pecor and Ming.
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Original research article, academic stress and mental well-being in college students: correlations, affected groups, and covid-19.
- 1 Department of Neurology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, United States
- 2 Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, United States
- 3 Office for Diversity and Community Engagement, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, United States
- 4 Department of Biology, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, United States
Academic stress may be the single most dominant stress factor that affects the mental well-being of college students. Some groups of students may experience more stress than others, and the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic could further complicate the stress response. We surveyed 843 college students and evaluated whether academic stress levels affected their mental health, and if so, whether there were specific vulnerable groups by gender, race/ethnicity, year of study, and reaction to the pandemic. Using a combination of scores from the Perception of Academic Stress Scale (PAS) and the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (SWEMWBS), we found a significant correlation between worse academic stress and poor mental well-being in all the students, who also reported an exacerbation of stress in response to the pandemic. In addition, SWEMWBS scores revealed the lowest mental health and highest academic stress in non-binary individuals, and the opposite trend was observed for both the measures in men. Furthermore, women and non-binary students reported higher academic stress than men, as indicated by PAS scores. The same pattern held as a reaction to COVID-19-related stress. PAS scores and responses to the pandemic varied by the year of study, but no obvious patterns emerged. These results indicate that academic stress in college is significantly correlated to psychological well-being in the students who responded to this survey. In addition, some groups of college students are more affected by stress than others, and additional resources and support should be provided to them.
Late adolescence and emerging adulthood are transitional periods marked by major physiological and psychological changes, including elevated stress ( Hogan and Astone, 1986 ; Arnett, 2000 ; Shanahan, 2000 ; Spear, 2000 ; Scales et al., 2015 ; Romeo et al., 2016 ; Barbayannis et al., 2017 ; Chiang et al., 2019 ; Lally and Valentine-French, 2019 ; Matud et al., 2020 ). This pattern is particularly true for college students. According to a 2015 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment survey, three in four college students self-reported feeling stressed, while one in five college students reported stress-related suicidal ideation ( Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; American Psychological Association, 2020 ). Studies show that a stressor experienced in college may serve as a predictor of mental health diagnoses ( Pedrelli et al., 2015 ; Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; Karyotaki et al., 2020 ). Indeed, many mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorder, begin during this period ( Blanco et al., 2008 ; Pedrelli et al., 2015 ; Saleh et al., 2017 ; Reddy et al., 2018 ; Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ).
Stress experienced by college students is multi-factorial and can be attributed to a variety of contributing factors ( Reddy et al., 2018 ; Karyotaki et al., 2020 ). A growing body of evidence suggests that academic-related stress plays a significant role in college ( Misra and McKean, 2000 ; Dusselier et al., 2005 ; Elias et al., 2011 ; Bedewy and Gabriel, 2015 ; Hj Ramli et al., 2018 ; Reddy et al., 2018 ; Pascoe et al., 2020 ). For instance, as many as 87% of college students surveyed across the United States cited education as their primary source of stress ( American Psychological Association, 2020 ). College students are exposed to novel academic stressors, such as an extensive academic course load, substantial studying, time management, classroom competition, financial concerns, familial pressures, and adapting to a new environment ( Misra and Castillo, 2004 ; Byrd and McKinney, 2012 ; Ekpenyong et al., 2013 ; Bedewy and Gabriel, 2015 ; Ketchen Lipson et al., 2015 ; Pedrelli et al., 2015 ; Reddy et al., 2018 ; Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; Freire et al., 2020 ; Karyotaki et al., 2020 ). Academic stress can reduce motivation, hinder academic achievement, and lead to increased college dropout rates ( Pascoe et al., 2020 ).
Academic stress has also been shown to negatively impact mental health in students ( Li and Lin, 2003 ; Eisenberg et al., 2009 ; Green et al., 2021 ). Mental, or psychological, well-being is one of the components of positive mental health, and it includes happiness, life satisfaction, stress management, and psychological functioning ( Ryan and Deci, 2001 ; Tennant et al., 2007 ; Galderisi et al., 2015 ; Trout and Alsandor, 2020 ; Defeyter et al., 2021 ; Green et al., 2021 ). Positive mental health is an understudied but important area that helps paint a more comprehensive picture of overall mental health ( Tennant et al., 2007 ; Margraf et al., 2020 ). Moreover, positive mental health has been shown to be predictive of both negative and positive mental health indicators over time ( Margraf et al., 2020 ). Further exploring the relationship between academic stress and mental well-being is important because poor mental well-being has been shown to affect academic performance in college ( Tennant et al., 2007 ; Eisenberg et al., 2009 ; Freire et al., 2016 ).
Perception of academic stress varies among different groups of college students ( Lee et al., 2021 ). For instance, female college students report experiencing increased stress than their male counterparts ( Misra et al., 2000 ; Eisenberg et al., 2007 ; Evans et al., 2018 ; Lee et al., 2021 ). Male and female students also respond differently to stressors ( Misra et al., 2000 ; Verma et al., 2011 ). Moreover, compared to their cisgender peers, non-binary students report increased stressors and mental health issues ( Budge et al., 2020 ). The academic year of study of the college students has also been shown to impact academic stress levels ( Misra and McKean, 2000 ; Elias et al., 2011 ; Wyatt et al., 2017 ; Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; Defeyter et al., 2021 ). While several studies indicate that racial/ethnic minority groups of students, including Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian American students, are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and suicidality than their white peers ( Lesure-Lester and King, 2004 ; Lipson et al., 2018 ; Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; Kodish et al., 2022 ), these studies are limited and often report mixed or inconclusive findings ( Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; Kodish et al., 2022 ). Therefore, more studies should be conducted to address this gap in research to help identify subgroups that may be disproportionately impacted by academic stress and lower well-being.
The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic is a major stressor that has led to a mental health crisis ( American Psychological Association, 2020 ; Dong and Bouey, 2020 ). For college students, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes and disruptions to daily life, elevated stress levels, and mental and physical health deterioration ( American Psychological Association, 2020 ; Husky et al., 2020 ; Patsali et al., 2020 ; Son et al., 2020 ; Clabaugh et al., 2021 ; Lee et al., 2021 ; Lopes and Nihei, 2021 ; Yang et al., 2021 ). While any college student is vulnerable to these stressors, these concerns are amplified for members of minority groups ( Salerno et al., 2020 ; Clabaugh et al., 2021 ; McQuaid et al., 2021 ; Prowse et al., 2021 ; Kodish et al., 2022 ). Identifying students at greatest risk provides opportunities to offer support, resources, and mental health services to specific subgroups.
The overall aim of this study was to assess academic stress and mental well-being in a sample of college students. Within this umbrella, we had several goals. First, to determine whether a relationship exists between the two constructs of perceived academic stress, measured by the Perception of Academic Stress Scale (PAS), and mental well-being, measured by the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (SWEMWBS), in college students. Second, to identify groups that could experience differential levels of academic stress and mental health. Third, to explore how the perception of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affected stress levels. We hypothesized that students who experienced more academic stress would have worse psychological well-being and that certain groups of students would be more impacted by academic- and COVID-19-related stress.
Materials and Methods
A survey was developed that included all questions from the Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being ( Tennant et al., 2007 ; Stewart-Brown and Janmohamed, 2008 ) and from the Perception of Academic Stress Scale ( Bedewy and Gabriel, 2015 ). The Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale is a seven-item scale designed to measure mental well-being and positive mental health ( Tennant et al., 2007 ; Fung, 2019 ; Shah et al., 2021 ). The Perception of Academic Stress Scale is an 18-item scale designed to assess sources of academic stress perceived by individuals and measures three main academic stressors: academic expectations, workload and examinations, and academic self-perceptions of students ( Bedewy and Gabriel, 2015 ). These shorter scales were chosen to increase our response and study completion rates ( Kost and de Rosa, 2018 ). Both tools have been shown to be valid and reliable in college students with Likert scale responses ( Tennant et al., 2007 ; Bedewy and Gabriel, 2015 ; Ringdal et al., 2018 ; Fung, 2019 ; Koushede et al., 2019 ). Both the SWEMWBS and PAS scores are a summation of responses to the individual questions in the instruments. For the SWEMWBS questions, a higher score indicates better mental health, and scores range from 7 to 35. Similarly, the PAS questions are phrased such that a higher score indicates lower levels of stress, and scores range from 18 to 90. We augmented the survey with demographic questions (e.g., age, gender, and race/ethnicity) at the beginning of the survey and two yes/no questions and one Likert scale question about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of our survey.
Participants for the study were self-reported college students between the ages of 18 and 30 years who resided in the United States, were fluent in English, and had Internet access. Participants were solicited through Prolific ( https://prolific.co ) in October 2021. A total of 1,023 individuals enrolled in the survey. Three individuals did not agree to participate after beginning the survey. Two were not fluent in English. Thirteen individuals indicated that they were not college students. Two were not in the 18–30 age range, and one was located outside of the United States. Of the remaining individuals, 906 were full-time students and 96 were part-time students. Given the skew of the data and potential differences in these populations, we removed the part-time students. Of the 906 full-time students, 58 indicated that they were in their fifth year of college or higher. We understand that not every student completes their undergraduate studies in 4 years, but we did not want to have a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students with no way to differentiate them. Finally, one individual reported their age as a non-number, and four individuals did not answer a question about their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This yielded a final sample of 843 college students.
After reviewing the dataset, some variables were removed from consideration due to a lack of consistency (e.g., some students reported annual income for themselves and others reported family income) or heterogeneity that prevented easy categorization (e.g., field of study). We settled on four variables of interest: gender, race/ethnicity, year in school, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic ( Table 1 ). Gender was coded as female, male, or non-binary. Race/ethnicity was coded as white or Caucasian; Black or African American; East Asian; Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin; or other. Other was used for groups that were not well-represented in the sample and included individuals who identified themselves as Middle Eastern, Native American or Alaskan Native, and South Asian, as well as individuals who chose “other” or “prefer not to answer” on the survey. The year of study was coded as one through four, and COVID-19 stress was coded as two groups, no change/neutral response/reduced stress or increased stress.
Table 1 . Characteristics of the participants in the study.
Our first goal was to determine whether there was a relationship between self-reported academic stress and mental health, and we found a significant correlation (see Results section). Given the positive correlation, a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with a model testing the main effects of gender, race/ethnicity, and year of study was run in SPSS v 26.0. A factorial MANOVA would have been ideal, but our data were drawn from a convenience sample, which did not give equal representation to all groupings, and some combinations of gender, race/ethnicity, and year of study were poorly represented (e.g., a single individual). As such, we determined that it would be better to have a lack of interaction terms as a limitation to the study than to provide potentially spurious results. Finally, we used chi-square analyses to assess the effect of potential differences in the perception of the COVID-19 pandemic on stress levels in general among the groups in each category (gender, race/ethnicity, and year of study).
In terms of internal consistency, Cronbach's alpha was 0.82 for the SMEMWBS and 0.86 for the PAS. A variety of descriptors have been applied to Cronbach's alpha values. That said, 0.7 is often considered a threshold value in terms of acceptable internal consistency, and our values could be considered “high” or “good” ( Taber, 2018 ).
The participants in our study were primarily women (78.5% of respondents; Table 1 ). Participants were not equally distributed among races/ethnicities, with the majority of students selecting white or Caucasian (66.4% of responders; Table 1 ), or years of study, with fewer first-year students than other groups ( Table 1 ).
Students who reported higher academic stress also reported worse mental well-being in general, irrespective of age, gender, race/ethnicity, or year of study. PAS and SWEMWBS scores were significantly correlated ( r = 0.53, p < 0.001; Figure 1 ), indicating that a higher level of perceived academic stress is associated with worse mental well-being in college students within the United States.
Figure 1 . SWEMWBS and PAS scores for all participants.
Among the subgroups of students, women, non-binary students, and second-year students reported higher academic stress levels and worse mental well-being ( Table 2 ; Figures 2 – 4 ). In addition, the combined measures differed significantly between the groups in each category ( Table 2 ). However, as measured by partial eta squared, the effect sizes were relatively small, given the convention of 0.01 = small, 0.06 = medium, and 0.14 = large differences ( Lakens, 2013 ). As such, there were only two instances in which Tukey's post-hoc tests revealed more than one statistical grouping ( Figures 2 – 4 ). For SWEMWBS score by gender, women were intermediate between men (high) and non-binary individuals (low) and not significantly different from either group ( Figure 2 ). Second-year students had the lowest PAS scores for the year of study, and first-year students had the highest scores. Third- and fourth-year students were intermediate and not statistically different from the other two groups ( Figure 4 ). There were no pairwise differences in academic stress levels or mental well-being among racial/ethnic groups.
Table 2 . Results of the MANOVA.
Figure 2 . SWEMWBS and PAS scores according to gender (mean ± SEM). Different letters for SWEMWBS scores indicate different statistical groupings ( p < 0.05).
Figure 3 . SWEMWBS and PAS scores according to race/ethnicity (mean ± SEM).
Figure 4 . SWEMWBS and PAS scores according to year in college (mean ± SEM). Different letters for PAS scores indicate different statistical groupings ( p < 0.05).
The findings varied among categories in terms of stress responses due to the COVID-19 pandemic ( Table 3 ). For gender, men were less likely than women or non-binary individuals to report increased stress from COVID-19 (χ 2 = 27.98, df = 2, p < 0.001). All racial/ethnic groups responded similarly to the pandemic (χ 2 = 3.41, df = 4, p < 0.49). For the year of study, first-year students were less likely than other cohorts to report increased stress from COVID-19 (χ 2 = 9.38, df = 3, p < 0.03).
Table 3 . Impact of COVID-19 on stress level by gender, race/ethnicity, and year of study.
Our primary findings showed a positive correlation between perceived academic stress and mental well-being in United States college students, suggesting that academic stressors, including academic expectations, workload and grading, and students' academic self-perceptions, are equally important as psychological well-being. Overall, irrespective of gender, race/ethnicity, or year of study, students who reported higher academic stress levels experienced diminished mental well-being. The utilization of well-established scales and a large sample size are strengths of this study. Our results extend and contribute to the existing literature on stress by confirming findings from past studies that reported higher academic stress and lower psychological well-being in college students utilizing the same two scales ( Green et al., 2021 ; Syed, 2021 ). To our knowledge, the majority of other prior studies with similar findings examined different components of stress, studied negative mental health indicators, used different scales or methods, employed smaller sample sizes, or were conducted in different countries ( Li and Lin, 2003 ; American Psychological Association, 2020 ; Husky et al., 2020 ; Pascoe et al., 2020 ; Patsali et al., 2020 ; Clabaugh et al., 2021 ; Lee et al., 2021 ; Lopes and Nihei, 2021 ; Yang et al., 2021 ).
This study also demonstrated that college students are not uniformly impacted by academic stress or pandemic-related stress and that there are significant group-level differences in mental well-being. Specifically, non-binary individuals and second-year students were disproportionately impacted by academic stress. When considering the effects of gender, non-binary students, in comparison to gender-conforming students, reported the highest stress levels and worst psychological well-being. Although there is a paucity of research examining the impact of academic stress in non-binary college students, prior studies have indicated that non-binary adults face adverse mental health outcomes when compared to male and female-identifying individuals ( Thorne et al., 2018 ; Jones et al., 2019 ; Budge et al., 2020 ). Alarmingly, Lipson et al. (2019) found that gender non-conforming college students were two to four times more likely to experience mental health struggles than cisgender students ( Lipson et al., 2019 ). With a growing number of college students in the United States identifying as as non-binary, additional studies could offer invaluable insight into how academic stress affects this population ( Budge et al., 2020 ).
In addition, we found that second-year students reported the most academic-related distress and lowest psychological well-being relative to students in other years of study. We surmise this may be due to this group taking advanced courses, managing heavier academic workloads, and exploring different majors. Other studies support our findings and suggest higher stress levels could be attributed to increased studying and difficulties with time management, as well as having less well-established social support networks and coping mechanisms compared to upperclassmen ( Allen and Hiebert, 1991 ; Misra and McKean, 2000 ; Liu, X et al., 2019 ). Benefiting from their additional experience, upperclassmen may have developed more sophisticated studying skills, formed peer support groups, and identified approaches to better manage their academic stress ( Allen and Hiebert, 1991 ; Misra and McKean, 2000 ). Our findings suggest that colleges should consider offering tailored mental health resources, such as time management and study skill workshops, based on the year of study to improve students' stress levels and psychological well-being ( Liu, X et al., 2019 ).
Although this study reported no significant differences regarding race or ethnicity, this does not indicate that minority groups experienced less academic stress or better mental well-being ( Lee et al., 2021 ). Instead, our results may reflect the low sample size of non-white races/ethnicities, which may not have given enough statistical power to corroborate. In addition, since coping and resilience are important mediators of subjective stress experiences ( Freire et al., 2020 ), we speculate that the lower ratios of stress reported in non-white participants in our study (75 vs. 81) may be because they are more accustomed to adversity and thereby more resilient ( Brown, 2008 ; Acheampong et al., 2019 ). Furthermore, ethnic minority students may face stigma when reporting mental health struggles ( Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; Lee et al., 2021 ). For instance, studies showed that Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian American students disclose fewer mental health issues than white students ( Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ; Lee et al., 2021 ). Moreover, the ability to identify stressors and mental health problems may manifest differently culturally for some minority groups ( Huang and Zane, 2016 ; Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ). Contrary to our findings, other studies cited racial disparities in academic stress levels and mental well-being of students. More specifically, Negga et al. (2007) concluded that African American college students were more susceptible to higher academic stress levels than their white classmates ( Negga et al., 2007 ). Another study reported that minority students experienced greater distress and worse mental health outcomes compared to non-minority students ( Smith et al., 2014 ). Since there may be racial disparities in access to mental health services at the college level, universities, professors, and counselors should offer additional resources to support these students while closely monitoring their psychological well-being ( Lipson et al., 2018 ; Liu, C. H., et al., 2019 ).
While the COVID-19 pandemic increased stress levels in all the students included in our study, women, non-binary students, and upperclassmen were disproportionately affected. An overwhelming body of evidence suggests that the majority of college students experienced increased stress levels and worsening mental health as a result of the pandemic ( Allen and Hiebert, 1991 ; American Psychological Association, 2020 ; Husky et al., 2020 ; Patsali et al., 2020 ; Son et al., 2020 ; Clabaugh et al., 2021 ; Lee et al., 2021 ; Yang et al., 2021 ). Our results also align with prior studies that found similar subgroups of students experience disproportionate pandemic-related distress ( Gao et al., 2020 ; Clabaugh et al., 2021 ; Hunt et al., 2021 ; Jarrett et al., 2021 ; Lee et al., 2021 ; Chen and Lucock, 2022 ). In particular, the differences between female students and their male peers may be the result of different psychological and physiological responses to stress reactivity, which in turn may contribute to different coping mechanisms to stress and the higher rates of stress-related disorders experienced by women ( Misra et al., 2000 ; Kajantie and Phillips, 2006 ; Verma et al., 2011 ; Gao et al., 2020 ; Graves et al., 2021 ). COVID-19 was a secondary consideration in our study and survey design, so the conclusions drawn here are necessarily limited.
The implications of this study are that college students facing increased stress and struggling with mental health issues should receive personalized and specific mental health services, resources, and support. This is particularly true for groups that have been disproportionately impacted by academic stress and stress due to the pandemic. Many students who experience mental health struggles underutilize college services due to cost, stigma, or lack of information ( Cage et al., 2020 ; Lee et al., 2021 ). To raise awareness and destigmatize mental health, colleges can consider distributing confidential validated assessments, such as the PAS and SWEMWBS, in class and teach students to self-score ( Lee et al., 2021 ). These results can be used to understand how academic stress and mental well-being change over time and allow for specific and targeted interventions for vulnerable groups. In addition, teaching students healthy stress management techniques has been shown to improve psychological well-being ( Alborzkouh et al., 2015 ). Moreover, adaptive coping strategies, including social and emotional support, have been found to improve the mental well-being of students, and stress-reduction peer support groups and workshops on campus could be beneficial in reducing stress and improving the self-efficacy of students ( Ruthig et al., 2009 ; Baqutayan, 2011 ; Bedewy and Gabriel, 2015 ; Freire et al., 2020 ; Green et al., 2021 ; Suresh et al., 2021 ). Other interventions that have been effective in improving the coping skills of college students include cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness mediation, and online coping tools ( Kang et al., 2009 ; Regehr et al., 2013 ; Molla Jafar et al., 2015 ; Phang et al., 2015 ; Houston et al., 2017 ; Yusufov et al., 2019 ; Freire et al., 2020 ). Given that resilience has also been shown to help mediate stress and improve mental well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, interventions focusing on enhancing resilience should be considered ( Surzykiewicz et al., 2021 ; Skalski et al., 2022 ). Telemental health resources across colleges can also be implemented to reduce stigma and improve at-risk students' access to care ( Toscos et al., 2018 ; Hadler et al., 2021 ). University campuses, professors, and counselors should consider focusing on fostering a more equitable and inclusive environment to encourage marginalized students to seek mental health support ( Budge et al., 2020 ).
While our study has numerous strengths, including using standardized instruments and a large sample size, this study also has several limitations due to both the methodology and sample. First, the correlational study design precludes making any causal relationships ( Misra and McKean, 2000 ). Thereby, our findings should be taken in the context of academic stress and mental well-being, and recognize that mental health could be caused by other non-academic factors. Second, the PAS comprised only the perception of responses to academic stress, but stress is a multi-factorial response that encompasses both perceptions and coping mechanisms to different stressors, and the magnitude of stress varies with the perception of the degree of uncontrollability, unpredictability, or threat to self ( Miller, 1981 ; Hobfoll and Walfisch, 1984 ; Lazarus and Folkman, 1984 ; Wheaton, 1985 ; Perrewé and Zellars, 1999 ; Schneiderman et al., 2005 ; Bedewy and Gabriel, 2015 ; Schönfeld et al., 2016 ; Reddy et al., 2018 ; Freire et al., 2020 ; Karyotaki et al., 2020 ). Third, the SWEMSBS used in our study and the data only measured positive mental health. Mental health pathways are numerous and complex, and are composed of distinct and interdependent negative and positive indicators that should be considered together ( Margraf et al., 2020 ). Fourth, due to the small effect sizes and unequal representation for different combinations of variables, our analysis for both the PAS and SWEMSBS included only summed-up scales and did not examine group differences in response to the type of academic stressors or individual mental health questions.
An additional limitation is that the participants in our study were a convenience sample. The testing service we used, prolific.co, self-reports a sample bias toward young women of high levels of education (i.e., WEIRD bias) ( Team Prolific, 2018 ). The skew toward this population was observed in our data, as 80% of our participants were women. While we controlled for these factors, the possibility remains that the conclusions we draw for certain groups, such as nonbinary students, ethnic/racial minorities, and men, may not be as statistically powerful as they should be. Moreover, our pre-screening was designed to recruit undergraduate level, English-speaking, 18–30-year-olds who resided in the United States. This resulted in our participant demographics being skewed toward the WEIRD bias that was already inherent in the testing service we used. Future research will aim to be more inclusive of diverse races/ethnicities, sexual orientations, languages, educational backgrounds, socioeconomic backgrounds, and first-generation college students.
Another limitation of our study is the nature of satisficing. Satisficing is a response strategy in which a participant answers a question to satisfy its condition with little regard to the quality or accuracy of the answer ( Roberts et al., 2019 ). Anonymous participants are more likely to satisfice than respondents who answer the question face-to-face ( Krosnick et al., 2002 ). We sought to mitigate satisficing by offering financial incentives to increase response rates and decrease straight-lining, item skipping, total missing items, and non-completion ( Cole et al., 2015 ). Concerns of poor data quality due to surveys offering financial incentives found little evidence to support that claim and may do the opposite ( Cole et al., 2015 ). On the other hand, social desirability bias may have influenced the participant's self-reported responses, although our anonymous survey design aimed to reduce this bias ( Joinson, 1999 ; Kecojevic et al., 2020 ).
Future studies should replicate our study to validate our results, conduct longitudinal cohort studies to examine well-being and perceived academic stress over time, and aim for a more representative student sample that includes various groups, including diverse races/ethnicities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, languages, educational levels, and first-generation college students. Additionally, these studies should consider examining other non-academic stressors and students' coping mechanisms, both of which contribute to mental health and well-being ( Lazarus and Folkman, 1984 ; Freire et al., 2020 ). Further explorations of negative and other positive indicators of mental health may offer a broader perspective ( Margraf et al., 2020 ). Moreover, future research should consider extending our work by exploring group differences in relation to each factor in the PAS (i.e., academic expectations, workload and examinations, and self-perception of students) and SWEMBS to determine which aspects of academic stress and mental health were most affected and allow for the devising of targeted stress-reduction approaches. Ultimately, we hope our research spurs readers into advocating for greater academic support and access to group-specific mental health resources to reduce the stress levels of college students and improve their mental well-being.
Utilizing two well-established scales, our research found a statistically significant correlation between the perceived academic stress of university students and their mental well-being (i.e., the higher the stress, the worse the well-being). This relationship was most apparent among gender and grade levels. More specifically, non-binary and second-year students experienced greater academic burden and lower psychological well-being. Moreover, women, non-binary students, and upper-level students were disproportionately impacted by stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Studies regarding broad concepts of stress and well-being using a questionnaire are limited, but our study adds value to the understanding of academic stress as a contributor to the overall well-being of college students during this specific point in time (i.e., the COVID-19 pandemic). Competition both for admission to college ( Bound et al., 2009 ) and during college ( Posselt and Lipson, 2016 ) has increased over time. Further, selective American colleges and universities draw applicants from a global pool. As such, it is important to document the dynamics of academic stress with renewed focus. We hope that our study sparks interest in both exploring and funding in-depth and well-designed psychological studies related to stress in colleges in the future.
Data Availability Statement
The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.
The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by Institutional Review Board at Rutgers University. The patients/participants provided their written informed consent to participate in this study.
GB and MB contributed to conceptualization, study design, IRB application, manuscript drafting, and revision. XZ participated in the conceptualization and design of the questionnaires. HB participated in subject recruitment and questionnaire collection. KP contributed to data analysis, table and figure preparation, manuscript drafting, and revision. XM contributed to conceptualization, study design, IRB application, supervision of the project, manuscript drafting, and revision. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.
This study was made possible by a generous donation from the Knights of Columbus East Hanover Chapter in New Jersey.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.
The authors wish to thank Shivani Mehta and Varsha Garla for their assistance with the study. We also thank all the participants for their efforts in the completion of the study.
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Keywords: academic stress, well-being, college students, Perception of Academic Stress, Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale, COVID-19
Citation: Barbayannis G, Bandari M, Zheng X, Baquerizo H, Pecor KW and Ming X (2022) Academic Stress and Mental Well-Being in College Students: Correlations, Affected Groups, and COVID-19. Front. Psychol. 13:886344. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.886344
Received: 28 February 2022; Accepted: 20 April 2022; Published: 23 May 2022.
Copyright © 2022 Barbayannis, Bandari, Zheng, Baquerizo, Pecor and Ming. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
*Correspondence: Keith W. Pecor, email@example.com
† These authors have contributed equally to this work and share first authorship
This article is part of the Research Topic
Understanding Socioemotional And Academic Adjustment During Childhood And Adolescence: Volume II
Transforming stress through awareness, education and collaboration.
“The difficulty in science is often not so much how to make the discovery but rather to know that one has made it.” – J.D. Bernal
2022 Stress Statistics
Two years after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, inflation, money issues and the war in Ukraine have pushed U.S. stress to alarming levels, according to polls conducted for the American Psychological Association .
A late-breaking poll, fielded March 1-3 by The Harris Poll on behalf of APA, revealed striking findings, with more adults rating inflation and issues related to the invasion of Ukraine as stressors than any other issue asked about in the 15-year history of the Stress in America TM poll. This comes on top of money stress at the highest recorded level since 2015, according to a broader Stress in America poll fielded last month.
Top sources of stress were the rise in prices of everyday items due to inflation (e.g., gas prices, energy bills, grocery costs, etc.) (cited by 87%), followed by supply chain issues (81%), global uncertainty (81%), Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (80%) and potential retaliation from Russia (e.g., in the form of cyberattacks or nuclear threats) (80%).
Adults also reported separation and conflict as causes for straining and/or ending of relationships. Half of adults (51%, particularly essential workers at 61%) said they have loved ones they have not been able to see in person in the past two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Strikingly, more than half of all U.S. adults (58%) reported experiencing a relationship strain or end as a result of conflicts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including canceling events or gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns (29%); difference of opinion over some aspect of vaccines (25%); different views of the pandemic overall (25%); and difference of opinion over mask-wearing (24%).
Key Stress Statistics
Americans are one of the most stressed out in the world. The current stress level experienced by Americans is 20 percentage points higher than the global average. The country’s rate is similar to Louisiana’s, the most stressed state. Globally, Greece has the highest reported stress level at 59%.
- 55% of Americans are stressed during the day.
- The global average of the number of stressed people out of 143 countries is 35%.
- Paraguay is the country with the highest positive experience index.
- Afghanistan is the least positive country in the world with a positive experience index of 43% lower than its score in the previous year.
- Stress causes 57% of US respondents to feel paralyzed.
- 63% of US workers are ready to quit their job to avoid work-related stress.
- Chronic stress is commonplace at work with 94% of workers reporting feeling stress at work.
- 59% of Greeks have reported experiencing stress in the previous day.
- Montana is the least stressed US state with a total stress score of 26.81 while Louisiana the most stressed with 59.94.
Causes and Sources of Stress
Living conditions, the political climate, financial insecurity, and work issues are some stressors US adults cite as the cause of their stress. Ineffective communications increase work stress to the point of frustration that workers want to quit. These stressors, unfortunately, are not something people can just ignore. Quitting a job would result in debt and financial instability which, in turn, would be added stressors.
- 35% of workers say their boss is a cause of their workplace stress.
- 80% of US workers experience work stress because of ineffective company communications.
- 39% of North American employees report their workload the main source of the work stress.
- 49% of 18 – 24 year olds who report high levels of stress felt comparing themselves to others is a stressor.
- 71% of US adults with private health insurance say the cost of healthcare causes them stress while 53% with public insurance say the same.
- 54% of Americans want to stay informed about the news but following the news causes them stress.
- 42% of US adults cite personal debt as a source of significant stress.
- 1 in 4 American adults say discrimination is a significant source of stress.
- Mass shootings are a significant source of stress across all races; 84% of Hispanic report this, the highest among the races.
Stress and Relationships
People under stress admit to taking out their frustration on other people. Targets for venting out include strangers and those they have personal relationships with. Men and women report different levels of how work stress affects their relationships with their spouses.
- 76% of US workers say their workplace stress has had a negative impact on their personal relationships.
- Seven in 10 adults report work stress affects their personal relationships.
- 79% of men report work stress affects their personal relationship with their spouse compared to 61% for women.
- 36% of adults reported experiencing stress caused by a friend or loved one’s long-term health condition.
Stress Management Statistics
A look at the stress management techniques employed by US adults to deal with their stress, an overwhelming majority are self-care practices. Though very helpful, it does not address the stressor at the root of the problem. Stress management programs would be beneficial not only for employees but for the company in the long run.
- 30% of Us adults eat comfort food “more than the usual” when faced with a challenging or stressful event.
- 51% of US adults engage in prayer—a routine activity—when faced with a challenge or stressful situation.
- Coping mechanisms of Gen Z and Millenials experiencing stress in the US 44% of Gen Z and 40% of Millenials sleep in while exercising counts for 14% and 20% respectively.
- 49% of US adults report enduring stressful situations as a coping behavior to handle stress.
- Less than 25% of those with depression worldwide have access to mental health treatments.
American Psychological Association
Cardiac Coherence and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Combat Veterans
Jay P. Ginsberg, Ph.D.; Melanie E. Berry, M.S.; Donald A Powell, Ph.D.
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, A Peer-Reviewed Journal, 2010;16 (4):52-60. PDF version of the complete paper: Cardiac Coherence and PTSD in Combat Veterans
Background: The need for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among combat veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq is a growing concern. PTSD has been associated with reduced cardiac coherence (an indicator of heart rate variability [HRV]) and deficits in early-stage information processing (attention and immediate memory) in different studies. However, the co-occurrence of reduced coherence and cognition in combat veterans with PTSD has not been studied before.
Primary Study Objective: A pilot study was undertaken to assess the covariance of coherence and information processing in combat veterans. An additional study goal was an assessment of the effects of HRV biofeedback (HRVB) on coherence and information processing in these veterans.
Methods/Design: A two-group (combat veterans with and without PTSD), a pre-post study of coherence and information processing was employed with baseline psychometric covariates.
Setting: The study was conducted at a VA Medical Center outpatient mental health clinic.
Participants: Five combat veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan with PTSD and five active-duty soldiers with comparable combat exposure who were without PTSD.
Intervention: Participants met with an HRVB professional once weekly for 4 weeks and received visual feedback in HRV patterns while receiving training in resonance frequency breathing and positive emotion induction.
Primary Outcome Measures: Cardiac coherence, word list learning, commissions (false alarms) in go—no go reaction time, digits backward.
Results: Cardiac coherence was achieved in all participants, and the increase in coherence ratio was significant post-HRVB training. Significant improvements in the information processing indicators were achieved. Degree of increase in coherence was the likely mediator of cognitive improvement.
Conclusion: Cardiac coherence is an index of the strength of control of parasympathetic cardiac deceleration in an individual that has cardinal importance for the individual’s attention and affect regulation.
The Effect of a Biofeedback-based Stress Management Tool on Physician Stress: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial
Jane B. Lemaire, Jean E. Wallace, Adriane M. Lewin, Jill de Grood, Jeffrey P. Schaefer
Open Medicine 2011; 5(4)E154. PDF version of the complete paper: physician-stress-randomized-controlled-clinical-trial
Abstract- Biofeedback-based Stress Management
Background: Physicians often experience work-related stress that may lead to personal harm and impaired professional performance. Biofeedback has been used to manage stress in various populations.
Objective: To determine whether a biofeedback-based stress management tool, consisting of rhythmic breathing, actively self-generated positive emotions and a portable biofeedback device, reduces physician stress.
Design: Randomized controlled trial measuring the efficacy of a stress-reduction intervention over 28 days, with a 28-day open-label trial extension to assess effectiveness.
Setting: Urban tertiary care hospital.
Participants: Forty staff physicians (23 men and 17 women) from various medical practices (1 from primary care, 30 from a medical specialty and 9 from a surgical specialty) were recruited by means of electronic mail, regular mail and posters placed in the physicians’ lounge and throughout the hospital.
Intervention: Physicians in the intervention group were instructed to use a biofeedback-based stress management tool three times daily. Participants in both the control and intervention groups received twice-weekly support visits from the research team over 28 days, with the intervention group also receiving re-inforcement in the use of the stress management tool during these support visits. During the 28-day extension period, both the control and the intervention groups received the intervention, but without intensive support from the research team.
Main outcome measure: Stress was measured with a scale developed to capture short-term changes in global perceptions of stress for physicians (maximum score 200).
Results: During the randomized controlled trial (days 0 to 28), the mean stress score declined significantly for the intervention group (change -14.7, standard deviation [SD] 23.8; p = 0.013) but not for the control group (change -2.2, SD 8.4; p = 0.30). The difference in mean score change between the groups was 12.5 (p = 0.048). The lower mean stress scores in the intervention group were maintained during the trial extension to day 56. The mean stress score for the control group changed significantly during the 28-day extension period (change -8.5, SD 7.6; p < 0.001).
Conclusion: A biofeedback-based stress management tool may be a simple and effective stress-reduction strategy for physicians.
Coherence Training In Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Cognitive Functions and Behavioral Changes
Anthony Lloyd, Ph.D.; Davide Brett, B.Sc.; Ketith Wesnes, Ph.D.
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, A Peer-Reviewed Journal, 2010; 16 (4):34-42
PDF version of the complete paper: coherence-training-in-children-with-adhd
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most prevalent behavioral diagnosis in children, with an estimated 500 000 children affected in the United Kingdom alone. The need for an appropriate and effective intervention for children with ADHD is a growing concern for educators and childcare agencies. This randomized controlled clinical trial evaluated the impact of the HeartMath self-regulation skills and coherence training program (Institute of HeartMath, Boulder Creek, California) on a population of 38 children with ADHD in academic year groups 6, 7, and 8. Learning of the skills was supported with heart rhythm coherence monitoring and feedback technology designed to facilitate self-induced shifts in cardiac coherence. The cognitive drug research system was used to assess cognitive functioning as the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcome measures assessed teacher and student reposted changes in behavior. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in various aspects of cognitive functioning such as delayed word recall, immediate word recall, word recognition, and episodic secondary memory. Significant improvements in behavior were also found. The results suggest that the intervention offers a physiologically based program to improve cognitive functioning in children with ADHD and improve behaviors that is appropriate to implement in a school environment.
Coherence and Health Care Cost – RCA Actuarial Study: A Cost-Effectiveness Cohort Study
Woody Bedell; Mariette Kaszkin-Bettag, Ph.D.
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, A Peer-Reviewed Journal, 2010;16 (4):26-31. PDF version of the complete paper: rca-actuarial-study-coherence-and-health-care
Abstract-Health and Medicine
Chronic stress is among the most costly health problems in terms of direct health costs, absenteeism, disability, and performance standards. The Reformed Church in America (RCA) identified stress among its clergy as a major cause of higher-than-average health claims and implemented HeartMath (HM) to help its participants manage stress and increase physiological resilience. The 6-week HM program Revitalize You! was selected for the intervention including the emWave Personal Stress Reliever technology.
From 2006 to 2007, completion of a health risk assessment (HRA) provided eligible clergy with the opportunity to participate in the HM program or a lifestyle management program (LSM). Outcomes for that year were assessed with the Stress and Well-being Survey. Of 313 participants who completed the survey, 149 completed the Revitalize You! The program and 164 completed the LSM. Well-being, stress management, resilience, and emotional vitality were significantly improved in the HM group as compared to the LSM group.
In an analysis of the claims costs data for 2007 and 2008, 144 pastors who had participated in the HM program were compared to 343 non-participants (control group). Adjusted medical costs were reduced by 3.8% for HM participants in comparison with an increase of 9.0% for the control group. For the adjusted pharmacy costs, an increase of 7.9% was found compared with an increase of 13.3% for the control group. Total 2008 savings as a result of the HM program are estimated at $585 per participant, yielding a return on investment of 1.95:1. These findings show that HM stress-reduction and coherence-building techniques can reduce health care costs.
View my collection, “Stress and Cardiovascular Disease” from NCBI
View my collection, “Stress and Cancer” from NCBI
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3 tips for managing thesis writing stress
9 August 2019
Writing your thesis can be a stressful experience. Here, Dr Sonia Greenidge from UCL's Student Psychological and Counselling Services gives you her top tips to manage this stress.
The process of writing your thesis is a long one and the stress that can build up over this period of time can lead to writer's block and worryingly long periods of unproductiveness. Here are my top three tips to help you lower your stress levels allowing you to progress with your thesis.
Break it down
Rather than thinking that you have to dedicate lengthy periods each day to writing up, a helpful method to manage the stress of thesis writing is to break the day into small bite-sized pieces. Even if you dedicate a whole day to your write up, this should still be broken down into bite-sized periods.
Make sure that alongside your work times you also schedule in some break times. For example, work for 45 minutes and then break for 15 minutes, continue this until breaking for lunch for an hour then continue the 45-minute work and 15-minute break routine.
Assign a specific task to do for each study period. Having a clear idea of what you are doing can alleviate the ‘so much to do, how am I going to do it?!’ stress. For example, plan to specifically ‘finish discussion paragraph on self-reflection’ not generally ‘write some more of the discussion’.
Assigning specific things to do in your break times can also help manage the stress that comes from feeling you have so much to do and so little time to do it all. Have a break for checking emails, a break for making calls, a break for making lunch etc. This way you still get all your 'life admin' done alongside getting that all important thesis written up!
Experiencing writer’s block and feeling that you are not progressing as you would like to can be a huge trigger for stress. With free writing, you write whatever comes to mind on a topic without stopping to censor or make corrections.
Do this for a while until you feel yourself in the flow and then…keep going! You will probably have a lot of useful material from your free writing time that you can go back and tidy up later.
Dr Sonia Greenidge, UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services (SPCS)
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- How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples
Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.
A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .
Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.
You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:
- Start with a question
- Write your initial answer
- Develop your answer
- Refine your thesis statement
Table of contents
What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.
A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.
The best thesis statements are:
- Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
- Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
- Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .
The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.
You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.
You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?
For example, you might ask:
After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .
What can proofreading do for your paper?
Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words, and awkward phrasing.
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Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.
In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.
The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.
In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.
The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.
A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:
- Why you hold this position
- What they’ll learn from your essay
- The key points of your argument or narrative
The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.
These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.
Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:
- In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
- In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
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A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.
The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:
- It gives your writing direction and focus.
- It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.
Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.
Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :
- Ask a question about your topic .
- Write your initial answer.
- Develop your answer by including reasons.
- Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.
The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
McCombes, S. (2023, August 15). How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved August 31, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/thesis-statement/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples, how to write topic sentences | 4 steps, examples & purpose, academic paragraph structure | step-by-step guide & examples.
I'm still unsure of the difference of an essay structure or plan, and the thesis statement, or claim. Aren't they the same?
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
A thesis statement is a sentence or two in your essay or paper that expresses the main argument you intend to get across in the text. It's a way of getting across your ideas to the reader in the text itself.
Meanwhile, an essay outline is more something for yourself, to help you plan out your structure before you start writing or to show your instructor that you have a clear structure in mind. It's not something that you include in the final text, but an earlier stage in the writing process.
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How To Deal With Dissertation Stress
There is something that many people avoid talking about when it comes to dissertations: dissertation stress. Few people are ready to admit that writing a dissertation is a very stressful process. And even fewer people admit that they are suffering from dissertation stress. Yes, we are all proud in our own way, but we need to realize when something is wrong. Otherwise, how could one take action to prevent stress?
As soon as you realize that you need to do some dissertation stress management, you are already on your way to achieving great things. Because getting rid of stress has only benefits. For instance, you will instantly feel more energized and more positive. You will have much more energy to work on the dissertation and do an even better job than before. Because let’s face it; stress will quickly force you to miss your deadlines. You need to deal with dissertation stress; now!
What Is Dissertation Stress?
Before we get to the things you can do to keep stress under control, let’s understand what stress with dissertation really is and how it manifests.
Stress appears when college students are under a lot of pressure to finish a difficult assignment, like a dissertation, in a very short time span. In addition, you will experience a buildup of stress when certain parts of your dissertation as not as they should be.
Perhaps your research doesn’t support your thesis, or perhaps your experiments are not working out. You probably don’t know how to recognize dissertation stress. It’s only normal, as you haven’t written any dissertations up to now. You don’t know how to deal with dissertation stress, but this will change by the end of this article. Here are some of the telltale signs of stress:
- You are always feeling down and don’t know why.
- You are feeling tired and can’t work at your full potential.
- You don’t have any desire to continue working on your dissertation.
- You are depressed and think negatively about your ability to finish the paper on time.
- You are inpatient and lose your temper easily.
- You can’t get a good night’s sleep and you wake up almost as tired as when you got to bed the last evening.
Causes Of Dissertation Stress
There are many causes for dissertation stress. For effective dissertation stress management, you need to learn about the main causes of this kind of stress. Here are the top 5 causes:
- The deadline is approaching fast and you are not even halfway finished with your dissertation.
- The topic is too complex and you are struggling to make any meaningful progress.
- There are too many things you need to work on and you can’t get enough sleep.
- You don’t know how to write the paper and can’t find any help anywhere.
- You’ve received bad feedback from your thesis supervisor and this is discouraging you.
Now that you know what is causing you stress, it’s time to work on the best dissertation stress management technique.
How To Deal With Dissertation Stress – Useful Advice
If you are stressed out, you will never be able to finish the paper on time. Your productivity will be low while you are under a lot of stress. This is why you must learn how to deal with dissertation stress. There are a few things you can do. First, put yourself in a positive mindset. You can do this, and you will be able to complete the assignment on time!
Next, work on a plan and organize your time and your project. Make sure you achieve every milestone that you set. When you pass a milestone, get a day off to spend with your family and friends.
And another important thing you need to do to help yourself with stress is to go to bed early and wake up early. Get a good night’s sleep every night. College students often feel down because they feel they are all alone in this. You are not! Why not get some help with data analysis for dissertation from a professional academic writer? Having someone who has your back is very important for your state of mind. You are no longer struggling to complete your project all by yourself.
Relax And Be Positive
Follow the advice above and you will easily get rid of the stress associated with writing a complex dissertation. This is the best dissertation stress help you can get. And remember, you must always be in a positive state of mind. Relax! You will finish the paper on time if your follow your plan and if you stay productive. Keep in mind that your productivity will increase when you get rid of stress. Be optimistic and stop think about the worst case scenarios. So many students have managed to write their dissertations on time; you will succeed too! We wish you good luck.
Get Thesis Help Today
Finally, there is always an option of getting outside help with your thesis. There might be certain thesis related tasks that you can easily relegate to somebody else, as it is an intimidating and substantial assignment. That is why we are here. We provide a custom thesis writing service and all essential thesis help, and our writers are top educated specialists in wide varieties of fields. So, to decrease your stress levels, you can always get in touch with us.
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Essay on Stress
Under stress, the body produces the hormone adrenaline, the main function of which is to force the body to survive. Stress is a normal part of human life and it is necessary in certain amounts. If our life did not have stressful elements of competition, risk, willingness to work as hard as we can, life would be much more boring. Sometimes stress acts as a motivation that is needed in order to feel the fullness of emotions, even if it is about survival. If the amount of these challenges and complex problems becomes very large, then the person loses the ability to cope with these tasks.
Anxiety is a state of mind and body, associated with worries, tension and nervousness. Every person meets such moments in life when he is under stress or anxiety. In fact, the state of anxiety helps a person cope with external threats, forcing the brain to work intensively and giving the body a state of readiness for action. When anxiety and fears begin to suppress the person and influence his daily life, he may experience so-called anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, fear of losing a job, specific fears, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and general anxiety, usually begin to appear after the age of 15-20 years (Dunkley, 2013). Anxiety disorders are regarded as chronic diseases that can progress without treatment. Currently, there are effective methods for their treatment.
Causes of stress
There are external and internal causes of stress.
External causes of stress and anxiety are moving to a new location, change of job, death of a loved one, divorce, everyday troubles associated with money problems, fulfillment of obligations by a certain date, disputes, family relationships, not enough sleep or bad quality of sleep.
Internal causes of stress and anxiety are life values and beliefs, fidelity to the promise, self-esteem (Procko & Shaham, 2011).
Symptoms of stress
Symptoms may gradually increase or appear suddenly, within a few minutes. Panic attacks are usually short, occur in the form of emotional explosions, accompanied by a feeling of horror and reactions of the organism such as heart palpitations and sweating. Generalized anxiety disorder usually develops gradually and is usually not a direct consequence of a particular irrational fear (phobia). Two major signs of stress and anxiety are uncontrollable anxiety and worry. Symptoms also include muscle tension, fatigue, irritability, restlessness, insomnia or sleep disorders, difficulty in concentrating. Stress and anxiety can lead to panic attacks, which are characterized by pain or discomfort in the chest, heart palpitations, shortness, shallow breathing, feeling short of breath, choking, chills or sudden onset of fever, shivering, nausea, abdominal pain, numbness, or tingling in the extremities (Weston, 2013).
Body’s response to stress
Human behavior in situations of stress differs from affective behavior. Under stress, a person can usually control his emotions, analyze the situation, and make appropriate decisions.
There are various kinds of stress depending on the stress factor, including physiological and psychological. Psychological stress, in turn, can be divided into informational and emotional. Informational stress may develop when a person is unable to cope with the problem, has no time to make the right decision at the required rate with a high degree of responsibility, ie, when there is an information overload. Emotional stress arises in situations of danger, resentment, etc.
Hans Selye identified 3 stages in the development of stress:
The first stage is alarm reaction – phase of mobilization of organism defense, which improves stability with respect to a specific traumatic impact. Thus, there is a redistribution of body reserves: the main objective is due to secondary tasks.
The second phase brings the stabilization of the parameters derived from the equilibrium in the first phase, which are fixed at a new level. External behavior does not differ from the norm, as if everything is getting better, but there is an internal overrun of adaptive reserves.
If the stressful situation persists, there comes the third stage – exhaustion, which can lead to a significant deterioration of state of health, various diseases and, in some cases, death (Fagundes & Kiecolt-Glaser 2013).
If the stressful situation depends on us, we need to focus on how to change it. If the situation does not depend on us, it is necessary to accept and change our perception, our attitude to this situation.
One of the most common causes of stress is the contradiction between reality and perceptions of man.
Stress response is equally easy to be caused by real events, and ones that exist only in our imagination. In psychology, this is called the “law of the emotional reality of the imagination.” As estimated by psychologists, about 70% of our worries are caused by the events that do not exist in reality, but only in the imagination (#BB, 2013). Besides, not only negative but also positive life events can lead to the development of stress. When something changes dramatically for the better, the body also reacts to this with a stress.
Stressful conditions significantly affect the activities of man. People with different features of the nervous system respond differently to the same psychological stress. Some people experience increased activity, mobilization, improving performance. This is a so-called “stress of a lion.” Danger makes a person act boldly and courageously. On the other hand, stress can cause a disruption of activity, sharp decline in its effectiveness, passivity and total inhibition (“stress of a bunny”) (Dow, 2014).
Human behavior in a stressful situation depends on many factors, but primarily on the psychological stability that incorporates with the ability to quickly assess the situation, instantaneous orientation skills in unexpected circumstances, strong-willed discipline and determination, experience of behavior in similar situations.
Treatment of stress
Stress tends to accumulate. From physics we know that nothing in nature can disappear into nowhere, matter and energy just move or turn into other forms. The same rule is applied to the psychology. Experiences can not disappear, they are either expressed outside, for example in talking with other people, or accumulate.
It is known that there is no better medicine than a good sleep. Therefore, it is worth considering how you sleep. Here are some guidelines that will help make your sleep better.
- Regular exercise help normal sleep. It is desirable to exercise outside for a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Before going to bed, you can take a warm bath and listen to relaxing music. If possible, combine taking a bath with listening to music. Try to do this every day.
- In order the sleep to be deeper and healthier, the body needs the hormone melatonin. Rice, wheat, barley, sunflower seeds, and dried apricots contain B vitamins, which increases the content of hormone melatonin in the body. Refined products are lack of these vitamins, so try to eat organic foods, preferably with a high carbohydrate content.
- Your bedroom should not be stuffy, noisy and light: none of these is conducive to restful sleep.
Calm breathing helps to cope with stress. Inhale should be deep, through the nose. Exhale slowly and through the mouth.
It is also important to eat right when you are stressed. The food should be light and well absorbed. Eat slowly, in small portions. Relax a bit after the meal.
There are popular ways of dealing with stress. Chamomile is considered to be a good remedy. Its decoction helps to cope with headache, insomnia, has a calming effect. Herb oregano oil and clary sage also have effective relaxing properties. Melissa is a great remedy from overwork. It is used to relieve tension, anxiety, it can help even with strong stress. Teas of lemon balm are good for insomnia and depression.
Stress is a feeling that one experiences when considers that he cannot effectively cope with the situation. It is worth remembering that under the stress usual emotions are replaced by anxiety, which causes a disturbance in the physiological and psychological terms. This concept was introduced by Hans Selye to denote non-specific response of the organism to adverse effects. His research showed that various factors – fatigue, fear, hurt, cold, pain, humiliation in the body cause the same type of complex reaction regardless of what kind of stimulus acts on it at the moment. Moreover, these stimuli do not need to exist in reality. A man reacts not only to the actual danger, but also to the threat or reminder of it. For example, stress often occurs not only in situations of divorce of the spouses, but also in suspense of divide of the marital relationship. It is worth remembering that there are some rules to help combat stress. Firstly, try to avoid situations, which lead to the accumulation of stress. Secondly, it should be remembered that stress is accumulated especially well when we fully focus on it. Third, we must remember that there are many ways to relieve stress, such as exercise, massage, sleep, singing, bath salt and relaxing oils, bath, aromatherapy, relaxing music and others.
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What this handout is about.
This handout discusses the situational nature of writer’s block and other writing anxiety and suggests things you can try to feel more confident and optimistic about yourself as a writer.
What are writing anxiety and writer’s block?
“Writing anxiety” and “writer’s block” are informal terms for a wide variety of apprehensive and pessimistic feelings about writing. These feelings may not be pervasive in a person’s writing life. For example, you might feel perfectly fine writing a biology lab report but apprehensive about writing a paper on a novel. You may confidently tackle a paper about the sociology of gender but delete and start over twenty times when composing an email to a cute classmate to suggest a coffee date. In other words, writing anxiety and writers’ block are situational (Hjortshoj 7). These terms do NOT describe psychological attributes. People aren’t born anxious writers; rather, they become anxious or blocked through negative or difficult experiences with writing.
When do these negative feelings arise?
Although there is a great deal of variation among individuals, there are also some common experiences that writers in general find stressful.
For example, you may struggle when you are:
- adjusting to a new form of writing—for example, first year college writing, papers in a new field of study, or longer forms than you are used to (a long research paper, a senior thesis, a master’s thesis, a dissertation) (Hjortshoj 56-76).
- writing for a reader or readers who have been overly critical or demanding in the past.
- remembering negative criticism received in the past—even if the reader who criticized your work won’t be reading your writing this time.
- working with limited time or with a lot of unstructured time.
- responding to an assignment that seems unrelated to academic or life goals.
- dealing with troubling events outside of school.
What are some strategies for handling these feelings?
Choose a writing buddy, someone you trust to encourage you in your writing life. Your writing buddy might be a friend or family member, a classmate, a teacher, a colleague, or a Writing Center tutor. Talk to your writing buddy about your ideas, your writing process, your worries, and your successes. Share pieces of your writing. Make checking in with your writing buddy a regular part of your schedule. When you share pieces of writing with your buddy, use our handout on asking for feedback .
In his book Understanding Writing Blocks, Keith Hjortshoj describes how isolation can harm writers, particularly students who are working on long projects not connected with coursework (134-135). He suggests that in addition to connecting with supportive individuals, such students can benefit from forming or joining a writing group, which functions in much the same way as a writing buddy. A group can provide readers, deadlines, support, praise, and constructive criticism. For help starting one, see our handout about writing groups .
Identify your strengths
Often, writers who are experiencing block or anxiety have a worse opinion of their own writing than anyone else! Make a list of the things you do well. You might ask a friend or colleague to help you generate such a list. Here are some possibilities to get you started:
- I explain things well to people.
- I get people’s interest.
- I have strong opinions.
- I listen well.
- I am critical of what I read.
- I see connections.
Choose at least one strength as your starting point. Instead of saying “I can’t write,” say “I am a writer who can …”
Recognize that writing is a complex process
Writing is an attempt to fix meaning on the page, but you know, and your readers know, that there is always more to be said on a topic. The best writers can do is to contribute what they know and feel about a topic at a particular point in time.
Writers often seek “flow,” which usually entails some sort of breakthrough followed by a beautifully coherent outpouring of knowledge. Flow is both a possibility—most people experience it at some point in their writing lives—and a myth. Inevitably, if you write over a long period of time and for many different situations, you will encounter obstacles. As Hjortshoj explains, obstacles are particularly common during times of transition—transitions to new writing roles or to new kinds of writing.
Think of yourself as an apprentice.
If block or apprehension is new for you, take time to understand the situations you are writing in. In particular, try to figure out what has changed in your writing life. Here are some possibilities:
- You are writing in a new format.
- You are writing longer papers than before.
- You are writing for new audiences.
- You are writing about new subject matter.
- You are turning in writing from different stages of the writing process—for example, planning stages or early drafts.
It makes sense to have trouble when dealing with a situation for the first time. It’s also likely that when you confront these new situations, you will learn and grow. Writing in new situations can be rewarding. Not every format or audience will be right for you, but you won’t know which ones might be right until you try them. Think of new writing situations as apprenticeships. When you’re doing a new kind of writing, learn as much as you can about it, gain as many skills in that area as you can, and when you finish the apprenticeship, decide which of the skills you learned will serve you well later on. You might be surprised.
Below are some suggestions for how to learn about new kinds of writing:
- Ask a lot of questions of people who are more experienced with this kind of writing. Here are some of the questions you might ask: What’s the purpose of this kind of writing? Who’s the audience? What are the most important elements to include? What’s not as important? How do you get started? How do you know when what you’ve written is good enough? How did you learn to write this way?
- Ask a lot of questions of the person who assigned you a piece of writing. If you have a paper, the best place to start is with the written assignment itself. For help with this, see our handout on understanding assignments .
- Look for examples of this kind of writing. (You can ask your instructor for a recommended example). Look, especially, for variation. There are often many different ways to write within a particular form. Look for ways that feel familiar to you, approaches that you like. You might want to look for published models or, if this seems too intimidating, look at your classmates’ writing. In either case, ask yourself questions about what these writers are doing, and take notes. How does the writer begin and end? In what order does the writer tell things? How and when does the writer convey her or his main point? How does the writer bring in other people’s ideas? What is the writer’s purpose? How is that purpose achieved?
- Read our handouts about how to write in specific fields or how to handle specific writing assignments.
- Listen critically to your readers. Before you dismiss or wholeheartedly accept what they say, try to understand them. If a reader has given you written comments, ask yourself questions to figure out the reader’s experience of your paper: What is this reader looking for? What am I doing that satisfies this reader? In what ways is this reader still unsatisfied? If you can’t answer these questions from the reader’s comments, then talk to the reader, or ask someone else to help you interpret the comments.
- Most importantly, don’t try to do everything at once. Start with reasonable expectations. You can’t write like an expert your first time out. Nobody does! Use the criticism you get.
Once you understand what readers want, you are in a better position to decide what to do with their criticisms. There are two extreme possibilities—dismissing the criticisms and accepting them all—but there is also a lot of middle ground. Figure out which criticisms are consistent with your own purposes, and do the hard work of engaging with them. Again, don’t expect an overnight turn-around; recognize that changing writing habits is a process and that papers are steps in the process.
Chances are that at some point in your writing life you will encounter readers who seem to dislike, disagree with, or miss the point of your work. Figuring out what to do with criticism from such readers is an important part of a writer’s growth.
Try new tactics when you get stuck
Often, writing blocks occur at particular stages of the writing process. The writing process is cyclical and variable. For different writers, the process may include reading, brainstorming, drafting, getting feedback, revising, and editing. These stages do not always happen in this order, and once a writer has been through a particular stage, chances are she or he hasn’t seen the last of that stage. For example, brainstorming may occur all along the way.
Figure out what your writing process looks like and whether there’s a particular stage where you tend to get stuck. Perhaps you love researching and taking notes on what you read, and you have a hard time moving from that work to getting started on your own first draft. Or once you have a draft, it seems set in stone and even though readers are asking you questions and making suggestions, you don’t know how to go back in and change it. Or just the opposite may be true; you revise and revise and don’t want to let the paper go.
Wherever you have trouble, take a longer look at what you do and what you might try. Sometimes what you do is working for you; it’s just a slow and difficult process. Other times, what you do may not be working; these are the times when you can look around for other approaches to try:
- Talk to your writing buddy and to other colleagues about what they do at the particular stage that gets you stuck.
- Read about possible new approaches in our handouts on brainstorming and revising .
- Try thinking of yourself as an apprentice to a stage of the writing process and give different strategies a shot.
- Cut your paper into pieces and tape them to the wall, use eight different colors of highlighters, draw a picture of your paper, read your paper out loud in the voice of your favorite movie star….
Okay, we’re kind of kidding with some of those last few suggestions, but there is no limit to what you can try (for some fun writing strategies, check out our online animated demos ). When it comes to conquering a block, give yourself permission to fall flat on your face. Trying and failing will you help you arrive at the thing that works for you.
Celebrate your successes
Start storing up positive experiences with writing. Whatever obstacles you’ve faced, celebrate the occasions when you overcome them. This could be something as simple as getting started, sharing your work with someone besides a teacher, revising a paper for the first time, trying out a new brainstorming strategy, or turning in a paper that has been particularly challenging for you. You define what a success is for you. Keep a log or journal of your writing successes and breakthroughs, how you did it, how you felt. This log can serve as a boost later in your writing life when you face new challenges.
Wait a minute, didn’t we already say that? Yes. It’s worth repeating. Most people find relief for various kinds of anxieties by getting support from others. Sometimes the best person to help you through a spell of worry is someone who’s done that for you before—a family member, a friend, a mentor. Maybe you don’t even need to talk with this person about writing; maybe you just need to be reminded to believe in yourself, that you can do it.
If you don’t know anyone on campus yet whom you have this kind of relationship with, reach out to someone who seems like they could be a good listener and supportive. There are a number of professional resources for you on campus, people you can talk through your ideas or your worries with. A great place to start is the UNC Writing Center. If you know you have a problem with writing anxiety, make an appointment well before the paper is due. You can come to the Writing Center with a draft or even before you’ve started writing. You can also approach your instructor with questions about your writing assignment. If you’re an undergraduate, your academic advisor and your residence hall advisor are other possible resources. Counselors at Counseling and Wellness Services are also available to talk with you about anxieties and concerns that extend beyond writing.
Apprehension about writing is a common condition on college campuses. Because writing is the most common means of sharing our knowledge, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves when we write. This handout has given some suggestions for how to relieve that pressure. Talk with others; realize we’re all learning; take an occasional risk; turn to the people who believe in you. Counter negative experiences by actively creating positive ones.
Even after you have tried all of these strategies and read every Writing Center handout, invariably you will still have negative experiences in your writing life. When you get a paper back with a bad grade on it or when you get a rejection letter from a journal, fend off the negative aspects of that experience. Try not to let them sink in; try not to let your disappointment fester. Instead, jump right back in to some area of the writing process: choose one suggestion the evaluator has made and work on it, or read and discuss the paper with a friend or colleague, or do some writing or revising—on this or any paper—as quickly as possible.
Failures of various kinds are an inevitable part of the writing process. Without them, it would be difficult if not impossible to grow as a writer. Learning often occurs in the wake of a startling event, something that stirs you up, something that makes you wonder. Use your failures to keep moving.
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.
Hjortshoj, Keith. 2001. Understanding Writing Blocks . New York: Oxford University Press.
This is a particularly excellent resource for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Hjortshoj writes about his experiences working with university students experiencing block. He explains the transitional nature of most writing blocks and the importance of finding support from others when working on long projects.
Rose, Mike. 1985. When a Writer Can’t Write: Studies in Writer’s Block and Other Composing-Process Problems . New York: Guilford.
This collection of empirical studies is written primarily for writing teachers, researchers, and tutors. Studies focus on writers of various ages, including young children, high school students, and college students.
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Crowd-pleaser Carlos Alcaraz enjoys stress-free US Open win over Lloyd Harris
- Spaniard posts 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (4) win to reach third round
- Britain’s Dan Evans next up for defending champion
After waiting two additional days for the proper launch of his US Open title defence, Carlos Alcaraz overcame some uncharacteristic sloppiness in an otherwise straightforward win over Lloyd Harris on Wednesday night to move one step closer to a rare repeat in New York.
The crowd-pleasing Spaniard showed off the bruising power, incomparable all-court movement and signature variety that have carried him to the pinnacle of tennis, saving his best play for the biggest points in a stress-free 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (4) win over the 177th-ranked South African inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I think I played a great match from the beginning until the last ball,” Alcaraz said. “If I have to keep something from the match I’m going to keep the level from the second set.”
The 20-year-old from Spain’s southeastern coast is bidding to become the first back-to-back men’s champion at Flushing Meadows since Roger Federer won five straight from 2004 to 2008 – though doing so will require far cleaner play in the days ahead as the calibre of opposition ramps up.
Alcaraz, the youngest ever No 1 seed in a US Open men’s draw, had taken the court on Monday night for a first-round match against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer, but advanced on an effective walkover after his opponent rolled his ankle on the sixth point of the match and retired not long after.
A stiffer test awaited in Harris, a big server who reached the US Open quarter-finals two years ago and climbed to No 31 in the world before undergoing season-ending wrist surgery last year, and who brimmed with confidence in the early stages. The first two games were tightly contested over nearly 20 minutes with both men saving multiple break points.
But over time Harris was unable to contend with Alcaraz’s educated point construction and extraordinary shotmaking as the Spaniard’s steady pressure eroded his resolve. Alcaraz pounded screaming groundstrokes from the baselines and slid into forehand volleys at the net – sometimes in the same point – making Harris hit multiple winners to settle exchanges where one might normally do.
Alcaraz broke in the fifth game of the opening set before calmly serving it out. Then Harris seemed to unravel early in the second, when he was broken again following consecutive double faults, as his first serve went astray.
From there Harris raised his level in the third – helped along no doubt by 16 of Alcaraz’s 29 unforced errors – getting his teeth into several of the Spaniard’s service games and even breaking the champion at love for 2-4. But the ruthless Alcaraz broke back immediately, then navigated a drama-free tiebreaker to close the show in just under two and a half hours.
“I had to forget [the break],” Alcaraz said. “I did such a bad game. I had to stay focused and wait for my chances in the return. After that break I stayed strong mentally and was able to come back and win in straight sets is really important for me in the first rounds.”
The Spaniard’s emphasis on efficiency is sensible after last year’s title run, when he spent more time on court than any player at any grand slam tournament on record: 23 hours and 40 minutes. But his error-strewn play during stretches of Wednesday’s affair comes off of performances at the Toronto and Cincinnati tune-up events – including eight tiebreak sets out of 23 played – that came in below his stratospheric standard.
Alcaraz, who will surrender the world No 1 ranking he has held since last year’s US Open to Novak Djokovic regardless of his result in New York, advances to a Saturday third-round match against Britain’s Dan Evans, having won both of their previous two meetings.
“We played a few times,” Alcaraz said. “He’s a really tough player. Good serve and volley, good net game. It’s going to be really tough. I will play my best. I will have to return very, very well if I want to win that match. Let’s see how it’s going to be.”
- US Open Tennis 2023
- Carlos Alcaraz
- US Open tennis
Man left to soil himself in jail after arrest over sign cursing at police, lawsuit says
By Jennifer Rodriguez
An Ohio man is suing several officers, claiming his civil rights were violated and he was mistreated in jail after he was arrested for holding a sign that said “(expletive) THE POLICE.”
Steven Wright, 44, of Wellsville filed a lawsuit against the chief of police and several officers with the town’s department.
The lawsuit says on Aug. 28, 2022, Wright was standing outside of his home “peacefully” holding a sign that said “(expletive) THE POLICE” for about three hours.
Wellsville Police Chief Eddy Wilson doesn’t deny the reason for the arrest, and says he stands by his officers’ actions.
“They did the right thing cause I told them to go down there and get him. … I got the call, and actually I said, ‘Do I have to come down there?’” Wilson told McClatchy News.
“While holding his sign, Mr. Wright spoke no words and engaged in no gestures,” the lawsuit says.
A police report attached to the lawsuit states officers received several calls that morning with complaints that a man was holding an offensive sign. Several of the callers said there were kids walking in and out of a church across the street and felt the sign was inappropriate, the report says.
The mayor of the town also called the chief of police, saying multiple people called him to complain, according to the report.
Wilson said officers received tons of calls about Wright and the sign. He said it was church day and there were roughly 300 people going in and out of the church.
“They saw that and people were going bonkers,” Wilson said.
The report said officers attempted to talk to Wright but he refused to talk with them. Officers told Wright he was causing a disturbance and to take the sign down and go inside or he would be arrested for disorderly conduct, and Wright complied, the report said.
However, moments later, Wright came back outside and held the sign back up, according to the report.
“While he knew he had violated no law, the officers caused him to fear for his safety with their threat, causing Mr. Wright to retreat to his home with his sign. After having a moment to think, knowing he had committed no wrong by peacefully holding the “(expletive) THE POLICE” sign, Mr. Wright exited his home and resumed silently and peacefully holding up his sign,” the lawsuit says.
Wright was arrested after returning outside, the police report said.
Wilson said the sign was inappropriate.
“I think when you got some kids there that are 3, 4, and 5 years old that can read that and it’s church day,” he said.
While being held in a cell at the Wellsville Police Department, five officers refused Wright’s request to use a restroom, causing him to soil himself, the lawsuit says. When he asked for help, while “covered in feces and urine,” he was allegedly thrown towels and a garbage bag.
The lawsuit says he was left soiled in the cell for two hours.
The officers “knew the reason for Mr. Wright’s arrest and jailing, and it caused them to want to punish him,” the lawsuit says.
However, Wilson says the claim that officers refused to let Wright use the restroom is not true.
“If he didn’t use the restroom, that’s not on us,” Wilson said. “It’s next to the cot. It’s not a foot away from him.”
Wilson says the toilet is inside the cell and is certified by the health board and the state.
“We’re in compliance with it. We have a six-hour holding cell, and the toilet’s right there,” Wilson said.
Wright appeared in court Sept. 8 for the disorderly conduct charge, which was dismissed, according to the lawsuit.
Wright is claiming he was falsely arrested, his First Amendment rights were violated and he was retaliated against while jailed. He is suing for an amount “to be shown in court,” the lawsuit says.
Wilson told McClatchy News he didn’t know Wright filed a lawsuit until he saw it in news reports.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Youngstown. It’s unclear when the next court date will be.
McClatchy News attempted to contact Wright’s attorney for comment Aug. 31 but was not able to reach them.
Officers ignored inmate yelling in pain before he died of brain injuries, lawsuit says
Deputy sexually assaults handcuffed woman he kidnapped during traffic stop, feds say, 15-year-old playing ding-dong-ditch is nearly beaten to death by troopers, family says.
This story was originally published August 31, 2023, 1:16 PM.
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NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week
Video of police fatally shooting a pregnant black woman set to be released, ohio department says, russia’s putin and turkey’s erdogan set to meet amid efforts to repair ukraine grain deal, after nearly 30 years, pennsylvania will end state funding for anti-abortion counseling centers.
Donald Trump Appears to Shut Down AI Interview Theories
Smugglers are steering migrants into the remote arizona desert, posing new border patrol challenges.
‘India Is on the Moon’: Lander’s Success Moves Nation to Next Space Chapter
The Chandrayaan-3 mission makes India the first country to reach the lunar south polar region in one piece and adds to the achievements of the country’s homegrown space program.
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By Hari Kumar , Alex Travelli , Mujib Mashal and Kenneth Chang
Hari Kumar and Alex Travelli reported from Bengaluru, India, near the Chandrayaan-3 mission control.
- Published Aug. 23, 2023 Updated Aug. 24, 2023
Two visitors from India — a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan — landed in the southern polar region of the moon on Wednesday. The two robots, from a mission named Chandrayaan-3, make India the first country to ever reach this part of the lunar surface in one piece — and only the fourth country ever to land on the moon.
“We have achieved soft landing on the moon,” S. Somanath, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said after a roar ripped through the ISRO compound just past 6 p.m. local time. “India is on the moon.”
The Indian public already takes great pride in the accomplishments of the nation’s space program, which has orbited the moon and Mars and routinely launches satellites above the Earth with far fewer financial resources than other space-faring nations.
But the achievement of Chandrayaan-3 may be even sweeter, as it comes at a particularly important moment in the South Asian giant’s diplomatic push as an ambitious power on the rise.
India Successfully Lands Spacecraft on Moon’s Surface
The control room at the indian space research organization erupted in cheers when the chandrayaan-3 spacecraft landed on the southern polar region of the moon..
The altitude is being brought down from 800 meters. And we are nearing and approaching the lunar surface. He hung up a painting for the exact day. He the. People are applauding. From the Secretary department of space and chairman isro Somnath. I’m confident. That all countries in the world. Including those from the Global South. Are capable of achieving such feats. We can all aspire. Part of the moon and beyond.
Indian officials have been advocating in favor of a multipolar world order in which New Delhi is seen as indispensable to global solutions. In space exploration, as in many other fields, the message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been clear: The world will be a fairer place if India takes on a leadership role, even as the world’s most populous nation works to meet its people’s basic needs.
That assertiveness on the world stage is a central campaign message for Mr. Modi, who is up for re-election to a third term early next year. He has frequently fused his image with that of India’s rise as an economic, diplomatic and technological power.
Mr. Modi has been physically present at mission control for other recent moments in India’s space history, including during a successful orbit of Mars in 2014 and a failed moon landing in 2019 where he was seen consoling the scientists and hugging the chief of ISRO, who was weeping.
But the Chandrayaan-3 landing coincided with his trip to South Africa for a meeting of the group of nations known as BRICS . Mr. Modi’s face beamed into the control room in Bengaluru during the landing’s final minutes, where he was split-screen with the animation of the lander.
“Chandrayaan-3’s triumph mirrors the aspirations and capabilities of 1.4 billion Indians,” Mr. Modi said when the landing was complete, declaring the event as “the moment for new, developing India.”
In a country with a deep tradition of science, the excitement and anticipation around the landing provided a rare moment of unity in what has otherwise been fraught times of sectarian tension stoked by divisive policies of Mr. Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party.
Prayers were offered for the mission’s success at Hindu temples, Sikh Gurdwaras and Muslim mosques. Schools held special ceremonies and organized live viewings of the moon landing, with an official YouTube video of the event racking up tens of millions of views. The police band in the city of Mumbai, India’s commercial and entertainment hub, sent a “special musical tribute” to the scientists, performing a popular patriotic song.
“There is full faith,” the song, in Hindi, says. “We will succeed.”
The Indian mission launched in July, taking a slow, fuel-conscious route toward the moon. But Chandrayaan-3 out-endured its Russian counterpart, Luna-25, which launched 12 days ago. Luna-25 was scheduled to land on the moon on Monday in the same general vicinity as the Indian craft but crashed on Saturday following an engine malfunction.
That India managed to outdo Russia, which as the Soviet Union put the first satellite, man and woman in space, speaks to the diverging fortunes of the two nations’ space programs.
Much of India’s foreign policy in recent decades has been shaped by a delicate balancing act between Washington and Moscow, but the country is grappling more with an increasingly aggressive China at its borders. The two countries’ militaries have been stuck in a standoff in the Himalayas for three years now, and the vulnerability to a threat from China is a major driving factor in India’s calculations.
A shared frustration with Beijing has only increased U.S. and Indian cooperation , including in space, where China is establishing itself in direct competition with the United States.
And with the success of Chandrayaan-3, Mr. Modi can reap benefits in leaning into India’s scientific prowess to “more confidently assert Indian national interest on the world stage,” said Bharat Karnad, an emeritus professor of national security studies at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi.
The control room in Bengaluru became a joyous scene among the engineers, scientists and technicians of the Indian Space Research Organization.
Speaking after the landing, members of the ISRO leadership who managed Chandrayaan-3 made clear that the failure of their last moon landing attempt, in 2019, was a major driving force behind their work.
“From the day we started rebuilding our spacecraft after Chandaryaan-2 experience, it has been breathe in, breathe out Chandrayaan-3 for our team,” said Kalpana Kalahasti, the mission’s associate project director.
Chandrayaan-3 has been orbiting the moon since early August. On Sunday, an engine burn pushed the lander into an elliptical orbit that passed within 15 miles of the surface. On Wednesday, as the spacecraft approached the low point of the orbit, moving at more than 3,700 miles per hour, a preprogrammed sequence of maneuvers commenced.
The craft’s four engines fired again at the start of what ISRO called the “rough braking” portion of the descent, its speed of fall accelerating. After 11.5 minutes, the lander was just over 4.5 miles above the surface and started rotating from a horizontal to a vertical position while continuing its descent.
The spacecraft stopped to hover about 150 yards above the surface for a few seconds, then resumed its downward journey until it settled gently on the surface, about 370 miles from the south pole. The landing sequence took about 19 minutes.
Chandrayaan-3 is a scientific mission, timed for a two-week period when the sun will shine on the landing site and provide energy for the solar-powered lander and rover. The lander and rover will use a range of instruments to make thermal, seismic and mineralogical measurements.
India and ISRO have many other plans afoot.
Although an Indian astronaut flew to orbit on a Soviet spacecraft in 1984, the country has never sent people to space on its own. India is preparing its first astronaut mission, called Gaganyaan. But the project, which aims to send three Indian astronauts to space on the country’s own spacecraft, has faced delays, and ISRO has not announced a date.
The country is also working on launching a solar observatory called Aditya-L1 in early September, and later, an Earth observation satellite built jointly with NASA. India is also planning a follow-up to its recently concluded Mars orbiter mission.
Mr. Somanath has described the current moment as an inflection point, with the country opening its space efforts to private investors after half a century of state monopoly that made advances but at “a shoestring budget mode of working.”
“These are very cost-effective missions,” Mr. Somanath said after the landing. “No one in the world can do it like we do.”
When pressed by reporters about the cost of Chandrayaan-3, Mr. Somanath deflected with laughter: “I won’t disclose such secrets, we don’t want everyone else to become so cost-effective!”
While ISRO will continue exploring the solar system, the accomplishments of India’s private sector may soon garner as much attention. A younger generation of space engineers, inspired by SpaceX , have started going into business on their own. While ISRO’s budget in the past fiscal year was less than $1.5 billion, the size of India’s private space economy is already at least $6 billion and is expected to triple as soon as 2025.
And the pace of change is quickening. Mr. Modi’s government wants India to harness the private sector’s entrepreneurial energy to put more satellites and investment into space — and faster.
Up on the moon Vikram and Pragyan were set to get to work, with the rover possibly rolling onto the lunar surface in the coming hours or sometime on Thursday according to Mr. Somanath. The landing site, on a plateau south of the Manzinus crater and to the west of the Boguslawsky crater, is at about the same latitude as the edge of Antarctica on Earth.
To date, spacecraft have successfully landed on the moon closer to the equator. The polar regions are intriguing because there is frozen water at the bottom of permanently shadowed craters. If such water can be found in sufficient quantities and extracted, astronauts could use it for future space exploration.
The lunar south pole is the intended destination for astronauts who could visit the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program, and also for upcoming Chinese and Russian missions. In the nearer term, as many as three robotic missions, one from Japan and two from private U.S. companies working with NASA, could head to the moon later this year.
But in Bengaluru after the launch, Mr. Somanath hinted that India had its eyes on worlds beyond the moon.
“It is very difficult for any nation to achieve. But we have done so with just two attempts,” he said. “It gives confidence to land on Mars and maybe Venus and other planets, maybe asteroids.”
Hari Kumar is a reporter in the New Delhi bureau. He joined The Times in 1997. More about Hari Kumar
Alex Travelli is a correspondent for The Times based in New Delhi, covering business and economic matters in India and the rest of South Asia. He previously worked as an editor and correspondent for The Economist. More about Alex Travelli
Mujib Mashal is The Times’s bureau chief for South Asia. Born in Kabul, he wrote for magazines including The Atlantic, Harper’s and Time before joining The Times. More about Mujib Mashal
Kenneth Chang has been at The Times since 2000, writing about physics, geology, chemistry, and the planets. Before becoming a science writer, he was a graduate student whose research involved the control of chaos. More about Kenneth Chang
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'Manias die in vicious ways': A pair of fund managers who have beaten 99% of their peers over the last 5 years warn the S&P 500 will shed at least 30% of its value when the current bubble pops
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- Bill and Cole Smead see pain ahead for stock-market investors.
- They likened the current environment to the dot-com bubble around 2000.
- Cole told Insider he thinks the S&P 500 will lose at least 30% of its value in the years ahead.
Bill Smead got straight to the point in his latest letter to investors when characterizing how overextended stocks are.
"This financial euphoria episode has gone to a sustained high that makes the dot-com bubble look like small change," he wrote in the August 22 letter. Smead is the founder of Smead Capital Management and comanages the Smead Value Fund ( SMVLX ) with his son, Cole. The fund is beating 99% of similar funds over the last five years, and 98% over the last 10- and 15-year periods. Since March 2020, the fund has returned 121%, crushing the S&P 500's 91.6%.
So, why the bold claim? Smead pointed to extreme concentration in tech stocks. So far this year, just seven tech stocks have driven a majority of the S&P 500's impressive returns. Year-to-date, the index is up 15.5%, but that number reached as high as 20% at the end of July.
One way the concentration is apparent in the tech sector is by looking at the performance of the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index compared to that of the Russell 2000, which is viewed as a small-cap index. Taking the Nasdaq 100's current level around 14,965 and dividing it by the Russell 2000's level of 1,861 produces a quotient of 8.04. The high during the dot-com bubble was 8.16. But while the ratio hovered above seven in the year 2000 before falling down near to two, it's risen to seven again in 2020, 2021, and 2023.
Another way to characterize the concentration is by looking at the share of market value of the S&P 500 that the tech sectors has. At the height of the dot-com bubble, it went above 34%. Today it's at 28%. But if you add firms like Amazon, Tesla, and Netflix — which could arguably be considered tech companies — and Alphabet, Meta, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and Fiserv — which were once considered to be in the tech sector — that number is above 41%, Smead said.
And then there's investor psychology. Household equity ownership — or the percentage of household assets that are held in equities — is above 35% and near levels seen during the dot-com bubble. This gauge has a 0.82 correlation coefficient (the highest coefficient possible is 1) with annualized stock market returns over the following 10 years. Household equity ownership over 35% is consistent with just about 0% annualized returns over the next decade.
But that's on average. Don't take that to mean the S&P 500 will deliver low returns every year until 2033. It's more likely stocks see a bigger sell-off in the coming years.
"Few things in this life are certain. However, after 43 years in this business, there is one thing we find empirically true throughout history. Manias die in vicious ways," Bill said in the letter to investors.
On a phone call with Insider on Friday, Cole said he believes the S&P 500 will shed 30% of its value or more in the coming years. He thinks this will end up with investors being disillusioned with stocks for years to come.
"The psychology is very bad. People are very complacent," Cole said. "You do not clean up psychology without damaging people's souls."
What could pop the bubble
Stocks have enjoyed a renewed bull market this year thanks to hype around artificial intelligence and growing optimism that the US economy will be able to avoid a recession after all.
How long that this optimism remains, however, is uncertain. The S&P 500 is down 4% this month as interest rates rise due to investor fears about further Federal Reserve hawkishness amid a resilient labor market and strong economic growth that could keep inflation elevated.
And while the economy is strong at the moment, the longer the Fed keeps rates elevated, the higher the chance a recession strikes.
Dubravko Lakos, the top global stock strategist at JPMorgan, told CNBC this week that he sees a recession ahead as inflation stays higher than the Fed's target of 2% and rates stay higher.
"I think there is no landing, no landing, until you get to hard landing," Lakos said. "I don't buy into the soft-landing thesis."
Leading macro indicators like the Treasury yield curve and The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index point to a recession ahead. Both have perfect track records of producing recession warnings over the last several decades.
Some argue that this time is different , with consumers still spending thanks in part to pandemic stimulus and inflation having already moderated significantly.
But time will tell if that turns out to be true as the lagged effects of high interest rates continue to work their way into the economy.