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Author(s): Lalita Sahu, Meeta Jha

Email(s): lalitasahu412@gmail.com

Address: School of Studies in Psychology, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur, C. G. (India)

Published In:   Volume - 26,      Issue - 1,     Year - 2020


Cite this article:
Sahu and Jha (2020). Academic Stress in relation to Personality, Locale and Gender. Journal of Ravishankar University (Part-A: SOCIAL-SCIENCE), 26(1), pp. 25-34.



Academic Stress in relation to Personality, Locale and Gender

Lalita Sahu1,*, Dr. Meeta Jha2

1,2 School of Studies in Psychology, Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur, C. G. (India)

*Corresponding Author: lalitasahu412@gmail.com   

 [Received: 08 July 2020; Accepted: 18 September 2020; Published Online: 12 February 2021]


Abstract: School education is very important part in an individual’s life and is also a turning point in their academic life. Stress is a common factor among school students. Academic stress involves mental distress regarding anticipated academic challenges or failure or even the fear of the possibility of academic failure. A student’s life is subjected to different kinds of stressors such as the pressure of academics with a requirement of success, uncertain future and difficulties predict for integration into the system. In the present scenario academic stress is major factor that influence the students’ performance as well as their personality. The study investigated academic stress in relation to personality, locale and gender among higher secondary school students. A total of four hundred male and female students participated in this study from Baster district of Chhattisgarh. The sample was selected by using stratified random sampling technique. To assess the personality of the subjects, Eysenck’s Maudsley Personality Inventory (MPI) and Academic Stress Scale for Students was used. Obtained data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-test, and regression analysis. The results show significant difference between academic stress and gender, academic stress and locale, personality and locale of students. No gender difference was found between the personality of male and female students. Results also indicated that boys experienced more academic stress as compared to girls. Similarly, non-tribal students experienced higher level of academic stress as compared to tribal students. The result of regression analysis showed that personality emerged out as a significant predictor of students’ academic stress explaining about 30.5% variation.

Keywords: Academic Stress, Extraversion, Neuroticism, Locale, Gender

 Introduction

Stress is a word derived from the Latin word stringier, meaning to draw tight, and was used in the seventeenth century to demonstrate hardship and trouble. Stress in any situation that evokes negative thoughts and feelings in a person. The same situation is not stressful for each person and all people do not face the same negative thoughts and feelings. Stress is the body’s effect to a variation that demands a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or reaction. Lots of stress has main reason lot of irritation and its forced reach’s our goal. Wilks (2008) defined academic stress as the product of a combination of academic related demands that exceed the adaptive resources available to an individual, if they are not well managed (Smith, 2000; Stevenson & Harper, 2006). Academic pressure is a significant cause of stress for many students (Hashim, 2003). Students experience psychological and physical effect to stressors when they perceive excessive or negative stress. Severe stress produces physical compromises and it is not unusual to find students trouble with even loss of appetite, headaches, lack of energy, gastrointestinal problems (Mori, 2000). Heightened academic stress in the final years of schooling is a common concern, yet little is known about how stress changes over time and what individual, school and family factors are associated with distress (Wuthrich, Jagiello & Azzi, 2020).

 Agolla, (2009), Agolla and Ongori (2009) Awino and Agolla, (2008) carried out research on academic stress and concluded that academic stress exists from the change in a student’s thoughts and their daily life. It is caused by the various problems such as much homework, academic workload, inadequate resources, low motivation, continuous poor performance in academics, financial problems, poor relationship with friend and family, overcrowded lecture halls and uncertainty of getting admissions in good colleges after completing schooling, lead to stress among students.

Erkutlu and Chafra, (2006) Kadaptti and Khadi (2006) found that high aspiration, poor study habit, more study problems, change in medium of instructions, problems in their surroundings and low socio-economic conditions were the factors of academic stress makes academic environment very stressful. This is likely to affect the social relations both within the institution and outside which affects the individual person’s life in terms of commitment to achieving the goals. Fairborther and Warn (2003) identified academic stress among students such as too many assignments, competitions with other students, failures and poor relationship with other students or lecturers.

Personality comprises the behaviour patterns, a person shows across the psychological characteristics or situations that lead to those behavior patterns. It has been observed that levels of academic stress among students vary according to their personality traits. Personality traits have a significant role in student’s life to handle academic related issues which may lead to decline in the academic performance. Academic stress in students may be associated with poor academic performance. The excessive stress can lead to physical and mental health problems reduce self-esteem, and affect their academic performance and personal development. Several studies have examined the relationship between personality type and stress. Personality traits may influence a person’s perception of or reaction to stressful situations. 

Ahadi and Narimani (2010) investigated the relationship between personality traits, academic stress and academic performance of students. Results indicated significant positive correlation between conscientiousness, extroversion and openness to experience, agreeableness and academic performance and negative correlation with neuroticism and academic performance. Significant negative correlation was found between academic stress and academic performance. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that personality traits accounted for variance in academic stress 5% by extroversion and 3% by neuroticism. Personality traits and academic stress accounted for variance in academic performance, 12% by conscientiousness, 10% neuroticism and 6% academic stress.

Allred, Granger, and Annalakshmi and Jayanthy (2018) and Hogstrom (2013) studied the work load, perceived stress, and personality traits in natural science majors compared to social science and humanities majors in students. No significant difference found between personality traits and different majors. Stress was correlated positively with neuroticism, but not with any other personality traits. Bob, Popescu, Pirlog, Buzoianu (2014) studied personality traits and academic stress among a group of 267 first year medical students. Results found that top stressors were exams, falling behind in learning schedule, heavy workload, lack of time to review what have been learnt and large amount of content to be learnt. Academic stress was predicted by trait anxiety, neuroticism, parental expectation (Subramani & Venkatachalam, 2019) and health related factors (Afreen, Priya, & Gayathri, 2018). Hystad, Eid, Laberg and Johsen (2009) explore the capacity of hardiness personality to buffer the relationship between academic stress and health. Results showed that hardiness was negatively correlated with academic stress and number of health complaints and moderately with academic stress and health (Oktavia, & Mujidin, 2019). 

Shokri et al. (2007) investigated the relationship between personality traits, academic stress and academic performance in students. Results revealed significant positive correlation between neuroticism and academic stress. Significant negative correlation was found between extroversion and conscientiousness and academic stress. Rentala, Nayak, Patil and Aladakatti (2019) examined educational stress and their predictors among adolescent girls. Results showed that number of siblings and personality negatively predicted stress and considered as protective factors. Results also found that introvert neuroticism, Hindu religion, illiterate father, and commerce combination of subjects positively predicted stress among adolescent girls and considered as risk factors.

Dhakal (2013) explores relationship between gender and academic performance and academic stress. Results showed no significant differences in level of academic stress and gender. No gender difference was also found in the study conducted by Fromel, Safar, Jakubec, Groffik and Zatkal (2020) and Singh and Singh (2014).

Karaman, Lerma, Vela and Watson (2019) investigated the factors predictive of students’ academic stress. Results indicated that female students had higher academic stress than male students. Bivariate correlation and multiple regression analyses revealed that life satisfaction, locus of control, and gender were significant predictors of academic stress. Similar findings were also found that females have higher level of academic stress than males by Busari (2012), Busari, and Adewuyi (2018), Kadapatti (2017), Kiani, Latif, Bibi, Rashid and Tariq (2017), Uma and Manikandan (2013).

Dixit and Garg (2017) found that urban student's academic stress was more than rural student. The government school students’ academic stress is less than private school students. Results found that the boys academic stress was higher than girls. studied the prevalence of academic stress among students. Kaur and Puar (2017) examined the relationship between mental health and academic stress of senior secondary school students. Results found that a significant difference between urban and rural senior secondary school students on the basis of their academic stress and mental health.

Rationale of the Study

Academic stress is the apparent problem of a student. Students face various academic problems including exam stress, inability to understand the subjects, change in sleeping habits and eating habits. High stress levels among students can result in a diminished performance in the accomplishments and can affect both the physical and mental health of students. Certain personality traits make the students more vulnerable to handle the stress. High level of stress has a negative impact on personality. Hence, the present study aims to find out the relationship among personality, locale and gender on academic stress. 

Statement of the Problem

The problem undertaken in the present study is stated as, “Academic Stress in relation to Personality, Locale and Gender”.  

Objectives of the Study  

The present study aims at accomplishing the following objectives:

1.      To see the relationship of personality, locale and gender with academic stress.

2.      To investigate the predictors of academic stress

Hypotheses

In order to fulfill the above objectives various hypotheses were formulated as under:

H1- There would be no significant difference between boys and girls on academic stress and personality traits.

 H2- There would be no significant difference between tribal and non-tribal students’ academic stress and personality.

H3- There would be no significant impact of personality (neuroticism and extraversion dimension) on academic stress of higher secondary students.

Method

Sample   

The study investigated academic stress in relation to personality, locale and gender among higher secondary school students. A total of four hundred male and female students participated in this study from Baster district of Chhattisgarh, out of which 200 participants were Tribal students and the remaining 200 participants were Non-Tribal students. The sample was selected by using stratified random sampling technique. Data were collected through self-administered questionnaire. The age range of the was 16 to 18 years, the mean age being 17 years. Predictor variables of the study were personality, locale and gender and the criterion variable of the study was academic stress. In this study co-relational research design was used, and data obtained was statistically analyzed using SPSS (16th version).

Measures

Personality: Eysenck’s Maudsley Personality Inventory (M.P.I.) developed by Jalota and Kapoor (1975) was used to measure the personality of the subjects. Total 48 items are distributed among the two personality dimensions neuroticism and extroversion.

 

Academic Stress: Academic stress scale for students was used to assess the academic stress of the students. Academic stress scale consists of 50 items based on five-point Likert scale. Both the scale covers all psychometric property.

Procedure

The data was collected by administering the inventory in a small group of the participants. The respondents were instructed to complete the inventory by giving a response to every item of inventory. Informed consent was taken and all the respondents were assured that the data would be kept confidential. After completion of the test, the participants were acknowledged for their cooperation. Analysis and interpretation of the collected data were performed in accordance with the objectives of the study.

 Results and Discussion

Computed statistics for the comparison of academic stress and personality traits (neuroticism and extroversion) of male and female students are shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Mean and Standard Deviation of Academic Stress, Personality traits (Extroversion & Neuroticism) of Males and Females along with t-ratios

Variable

Gender

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

t–ratios (398)

Academic Stress

Male

200

142.84

34.57

 

4.516**

Female

200

129.83

21.56

Extroversion

Male

200

28.62

5.53

 

.206

Female

200

28.50

5.67

Neuroticism

Male

200

22.03

9.42

 

.707

Female

200

22.65

8.07

* p < .01

Figure1: Average Academic Stress scores, on the basis of Personality traits (Extroversion & Neuroticism) and Gender (Male and Female)

 

Table- 1 shows the mean, standard deviation of academic stress, personality traits and genders. Average academic stress scores of male and female subjects are 142.84 and 129.83 respectively. Average extroversion personality scores of male and female subjects are 28.62 and 28.50. Whereas the average neuroticism personality scores of male subjects are 22.03 and a standard deviation of 9.42 and for female subject is 22.65 and a standard deviation of 8.07 respectively. The average academic stress scores, personality traits (extroversion & neuroticism) and gender are shown in Figure-1.

It is depicted from Table 1 that the calculated t-value (4.516 df= 398) was significant at .01 level. It means male and female students have different level of academic stress. The mean scores of males (142.84) was higher than female (129.83) (Table 1). It was found that boys have more academic stress in their academic work than girls. So, the null hypothesis, that “there is no significant difference between the academic stress and gender” stands rejected. This research revealed that a significant difference was found between gender and academic stress. This result confirms the findings of other investigators (e.g., Meenakshi 2017, Menage & Chandrasekeran, 2014, Narasimhan, 2018). The study found that academic stress level has been higher in male students than female students. Male students have high-level of academic stress appropriate to the actuality that parents want their son to be more capable of managing their business and property, social and house responsibility, family members have more hope from the males to do extremely well in life as compared to female. Male students pay more attention to hang out with peers and roam meaninglessly instead of focusing on their studies, and because of that, they have insufficient knowledge of their subjects and hence they have to study more courses in less time, which makes them disinterested in their subjects as compared to female students, which is main cause of higher level of academic stress in male students. In some studies, no gender difference was found for example, Akeela, and Ashok, (2018), Deb, Strodl and Sun (2015), Dixit and Garg (2017), Dixit and Singh (2015).

The other objective of the present study was to see the difference between boys and girls on personality. The observed t- value .206 and .707 was not significant. The insignificant t-value indicates that neuroticism and extroversion dimensions of personality of male and female students do not differ significantly in their academic stress, rather they show almost equal degree of academic stress. So, the hypothesis, that “there would be no significant difference between boys and girls on personality was accepted”. The result indicated that male and female students have similar level of neuroticism and extroversions personality. In other words, it can be said that there is insignificant difference between personality (neuroticism and extroversion) and gender. This finding was in agreement with the study conducted by Velayudhan, Sivan, Jayan and Raghuram (2016). Another objective of the present study was to see the role of locale on personality traits and academic stress. The hypothesis that there would be no significant difference between the two locales on academic stress and personality traits. The average academic stress scores and personality traits among tribal and non-tribal students is shown in Table2 and figure 2.

 

Table 2. Mean and Standard Deviation of Academic Stress, Personality traits (Extroversion & Neuroticism) and Locale (Tribal & Non-Tribal) along with t-ratios.



 

Variable

Locale

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

t-ratios

Academic Stress

Tribal

200

130.32

29.62

4.164**

Non-tribal

200

142.36

28.20

Extroversion

Tribal

200

30.34

4.94

2.83*

Non-tribal

200

26.78

5.63

Neuroticism

Tribal

200

21.11

9.22

 

Non-tribal

200

23.57

8.13

6.713**

* p   < .005,      **  p  < .001

 

Figure 2:  Average Academic Stress scores, on the basis of Personality traits (Extroversion & Neuroticism) and Locale (Tribal & Non-Tribal)

 

It is depicted from table 2 that the calculated value of ‘t’ = 4.164, was significant. It shows that there was significant difference between tribal and non-tribal (locale) students. The average academic stress score of non-tribal students (M = 142.36) is higher than their tribal counterparts (M = 130.32). The hypothesis that, “there would be no significant difference between two locales on academic stress was rejected. Similar findings were reported in the works of Dixit and Garg (2017), Kadapatti (2017), Kaur and Puar (2017) Prabu (2015) and Sathiya and Malathi (2018).

The next variable undertaken in the present study is extraversion personality trait. The average extraversion personality trait score of tribal and non-tribal students are (M = 30.34 and M = 26.78). The calculated ‘t’ value was found significant at .01 level (t = 6.713). Similarly, the average introversion personality trait score of tribal and non-tribal students are (M= 21.11 and M= 23.57) respectively. The calculated ‘t’ value was found to be significant at .05 level (t = 2.831). The hypothesis that, “there would be no significant difference between two locale groups and personality traits (extraversion & introversion) was rejected. Similar findings were reported in the works of Mahalakshmi, Kalaivani and Pugalenthi (2015) and Nechita, Alexandru, StioLica and Nechita, (2015).

Table 3 Multiple Regression Analysis showing the joint contribution to Independent Variables to Academic Stress

 

Variables

B  Coefficient

ß

r

t

Sig.

 

(Constant)

161.788

-

-

19.753

.000

 

0Neuroticism

1.176

.349

.443

8.034

.000

 

Extraversion

-1.811

-.343

.552

-7.877

.000

 

R = .552,   R 2 = .305,    F = (2, 397  ) = 87.108,  p < .01

 The result from table 3 revealed significant joint contribution of the independent variables (extraversion and neuroticism personality traits) to the outcome variable i.e., academic stress. This implies that higher secondary school students’ academic stress correlated positively with the neuroticism personality trait and negatively with the extraversion personality trait. The result yielded a coefficient of multiple regression R= .443 and R square is .305. This suggests that the independent variables accounted for 30.5% (Adjusted R2 = .305) variance in the prediction of academic stress. The significance of the composite contribution was tested at p < .05 using the F-ratio (F = 87.108) at the degree of freedom df = 2/397. Table 3 shows that independent variables (extraversion and neuroticism personality traits) made a significant contribution to the prediction of academic stress of higher secondary school students. In terms of magnitude of contribution, neuroticism personality trait made the most significant contribution (Beta = .349, t = 8.034, p < 0.01) to the prediction of academic stress followed by the extraversion personality trait (Beta = -.343, t = - 7.877, p < 0.01) to the prediction of academic stress.

The result revealed that academic stress among higher secondary school students was significantly correlated with neuroticism and extraversion personality traits. The correlation between neuroticism personality trait and academic stress is positive, and the correlation between extraversion personality traits and academic stress is negative. This finding is consistent with the findings of various other researchers, for example, Ahadi and Narimani (2010), Allred, Granger and Hogstorm (2013), Bob Popescu, Pirlog and Buzoianu (2014) Shokri et al. (2007). The findings of the study revealed that personality traits, viz., extraversion and neuroticism emerged out to be the significant predictors of academic stress.

Conclusion

It is concluded that male students experience more academic stress than girls. Academic stress of non-tribal students is higher than tribal students. The results of regression analysis showed that personality traits emerged out as the significant predictor of academic stress of higher secondary school students. Academic stress is pervasive among students, it decreases the academic performance of the students. These findings should be taken into consideration that an attempt should be made to create stress free environment in the school level.

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