RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STRESS, MENTAL AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS OF NASARAWA STATE UNIVERSITY, KEFFI
1.1 Background to the Study
Academic performance and learning are usually affected by factors like gender, age, teaching staff, parents’ socioeconomic status students study hours and the condition of the learning environment. Anything which poses some kind of threat and challenges either physically or mentally upon us is known as stress. We use the word stress in such conditions when we feel it’s too much. We start to think either we will be able to handle the workload or situation (Nordqvist 2009). Stress is a reality which we have to face in our everyday life. There are situations when we start to feel ourselves out of help and start to disturb emotionally and other stressors. Many people consider stress as an incident happen to them such as injury or job loss (Centre 2010). Others think stress is some kind of changes which happen to our physical body, behavior and mind or over thoughts about situation.
School students have been found to have high prevalence of mental health problems across the country. In Chhattisgarh state had limited resources for mental health treatment, counseling or alternative interventions to help students and manage their level of depression, stress and academic anxiety (Pandey, 2016). There have been few mental health studies found in regional context; so to bridge the gap and find out the relationship among anxiety, depression, and stress with academic achievement. Many factors influenced students’ academic performance. Research have documented a number of inputs that have impact on students academic achievement these include classroom environment (Sharma, Mitra & Jha, 2015), teacher support. Certain characteristics of the students and their family are also important, including parents education. Present study focusing on another aspect that influence academic achievement that is, anxiety, stress and depression.
Psychological models focus on the concept of perceived stress, which refers to interactions between an environmental precipitant (external stress); the physiological reactions of the body (distress); and a person’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral response to this interaction. Stress is perceived when an external event causes aversive physiological and cognitive distress in an individual that exceeds his or her emotional and behavioral repertoire designed to negate the harmful effects of external stressors. The conceptualization of perceived stress allows for consideration that certain individuals may possess resources, such as coping, that allow them to experience external stress without experiencing compromised functioning. In recent years, this transactional perspective of stress (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) has been regarded as the most widely accepted definition of stress (Grant et al., 2003; Hess & Copeland, 2006).
While entrance to a university or other tertiary education institutions is a joyous time, it can be a stressful life event for some students (Wong et al., 2006). First-year students are particularly at-risk as they face a number of new stressors during the transitional period of starting a new life in university or college (Voelker, 2003). Just as all young adults, undergraduate students need to cope not only with psychological and psychosocial changes that are connected to the development of an autonomous personal life but also with the academic and social demands that they encounter in university studies in their preparation for professional careers. Therefore, the period of undergraduate education is a sensitive period in an individual’s life span, and this period is regarded by many as important for developing systems and intervention methods that may prevent or reduce mental problems (Gjerde, 1993).
Evidence that suggests that university students are vulnerable to mental health problems has generated increased public concern in many societies. Previous studies suggest high rates of psychological morbidity, especially depression and anxiety, among university students all over the world found that among college students seeking counselling services, anxiety and depression were ranked first and third as presenting problems, respectively academic and work-related concerns were ranked second as the presenting problem. Brackney and Karabenick (1995) noted that high levels of distress, concomitant with limited coping resources, render students less able to meet academic demands. Unfortunately, college counsellors are stretched very thin, thereby providing treatment for anxiety and depression-related complaints. Romano and Hage (2000) suggested the importance of integrative theoretical models that would better allow for the prevention of psychological difficulties. Increasing interest in positive psychology coupled with the factors that constitute wellness fit well with this type of prevention program, but models describing the psychological resources protecting college students from anxiety and depression seems to be lacking (Dahlin et al., 2005). Psychological distress may result in withdrawal from study as first-year students were found to be twice as likely to drop out as their counterparts in the second and third years Adlaf et al. (2001) found a prominent inverse relationship between year of study and mental health in university students, those at greatest risk being first-year students. Psychological morbidity in undergraduate students represents neglected public health problem and holds major implications for campus health services and mental policy-making In terms of life quality, understanding the impact of this neglected public health phenomenon on one’s educational attainment and prospective occupational success is very important. Conclusively, stress and mental health are associated with each other and are related to life quality, which is diminished if an individual perceives stress or lacks mental health.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Mental health problem is regarded as one of factors that affect students’ ability to attend classes, focus in class during lectures, and study effectively. Mental disorders may hinder motivation and/or induce feelings of discouragement and hopelessness. When careful attention is not adequately paid, students with mental health diagnoses are more likely to receive lower grade than their peers without such challenges. Stress and anxiety among university students have major impacts, not only with psychological wellbeing that will have adverse effects on students’ health, development, educational achievement and quality of life, but also the deteriorating influence on their own families, institutions and even on other people’s lives. College counselors could play an important preventative role be considering anxiety symptoms as a potential warning sign for depression. This research therefore sought to investigate the relationship between stress, mental health and academic performance using students of Nasarawa state university Keffi as a case study.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) what is the prevalence of stress and mental health on academic performance of students of Nasarawa state university Keffi?
ii) what are the factors that bring about stress and mental health on academic performance of students of Nasarawa state university Keffi?
iii) what the other effects of stress and mental health on academic performance of students of Nasarawa state university Keffi?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study the relationship between stress, mental health and academic performance of students of Nasarawa state university Keffi. The specific objectives were:
i) to analyse prevalence of stress and mental health on academic performance of students of Nasarawa state university Keffi
ii) to investigate the factors that bring about stress and mental health on academic performance of students of Nasarawa state university Keffi
iii) to inquire the effects of stress and mental health on academic performance of students of Nasarawa state university Keffi
1.5 Research Hypothesis
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
i) there is significant relationship between stress and academic performance
ii) there is a significant correlation between mental health and academic performance
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study would benefit parents and university students by helping them to discover the effects of stress on their mental health and how this affects their academic performance and enable the parents to discover the different methods for approaching stress and mental health on their children. It will also contribute to academic work in the area of clinical and physiological psychology.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study covered the students of of Nasarawa state university Keffi and was because they were being used as the case study for carrying out the research work.
1.8 Limitation of the study
The researcher was not faced with only the challenge of time and was because the time for carrying out this study clashed with the school calendar of the researcher and this proved difficult as the researcher had to forgo lectures to carry out this study.
1.9 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Academic performance: This refers to the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational degrees such as High School and Bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.
Mental health: This includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life.
Stress: This is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, and pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope.