Coping Mechanisms for Academic Pressure of 3rd Year Computer Science with Specialization in Software Engineering Students of FEU-ITPerlyn Joy M. FloresPaul Andrei R. CaoileArt Dominick A. VitorKyle Zyrelle C. Zabala REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURELife of College StudentsCoomes and DeBard illustrated the point that the most sheltered generation to date are the students of the 21st century (as cited in Crosby & Dalton, 2009) but as described by Angell, college students in the early 1900s reflect the post-modern college students. To obtain reputation, a good income, and a prosperous life are a few of the important goals in life of college students (Crosby & Dalton, 2009). Like the students of the 1920’s receiving tertiary-level education, these ‘millennials’ are similar about being self-centered, aspiring, and yet academically capable in general. But in contrast, the culture in which they are educated to thrive is subject to alteration due to their standards and long-term goals being challenged by unforeseen financial conditions (Crosby & Dalton, 2009) 1. ChallengesEisenberg (1997) & Harris (2006) stated that the current students addresses for higher grades or higher quality of teaching (as cited in Thomas, 2012). According to Crage & Fairchild (2007), the desire for higher grades is akin to student consumerism, wherein students assume to obtain higher grades and other academic incentives from institutional instructors as exchange for the financial burden of tuition within the business value of privatized education (as cited in Thomas, 2012) 3.ExperiencesA strong social network is the most strongly related factor among several aspects that affect stress tolerance in which coping strategies, genetics, and lifestyle habits are a few (Welle & Graf, 2010) 4. Students experience more stress with more time spent in laboratories, classes, and homeworks (Kausar, 2010) 5.MotivationsDefining objectives, adopting positive beliefs in accordance to academic performance, and preserving such beliefs even during facing distractions, experiencing failure occasionally, and periodically having interpersonal conflicts, are necessary to moderate one’s motivation. Doubting one’s capacity to succeed will cause difficulties in managing one’s behavior (Dembo & Seli, 2011). Consequently, various studying techniques and confidence-reinforcement will be developed in the process. Understanding one’s own motivation begins by evaluating one’s choice of behavior, level of active involvement, and efforts in managing their persistence. Among students, majority choose to expound on a topic outside class whereas others limit their involvement to class designation. Students that spend significant amounts of energy outside class to utilize numerous learning techniques considering their subjects, display the level of active involvement. Motivated behavior also includes managing one’s persistence despite occasions when learning environments become uninteresting (Dembo & Seli, 2011) 6.PerceptionsCounseling experts help students to control their stressful lives. According to Aherne (2001), Hicks, and Miller (2006), the students’ outlook towards school life is a stressful and bothersome work that affects how they emotionally and cognitively respond to stress, primarily because of pressure and expectations (as cited in Chinaveh et al., 2010, p. 311) 7.Academic Stress Generally, adult students are stressed personally of school and work. Butler’s resource scarcity theory in 2007 argued that school takes part of the students’ limited financial, physical, and time resources (as cited in Giancola et al., 2009). Sandler’s research in 2002 focused on students’ academic persistence as a result of perceived stress. It turns out that grade point average (GPA) relates stress as a necessity 8.Causes of academic stress Ineffective time management can be reasons for stress. Effective time management on the other hand, includes setting and working on priorities. Rogers and Yassin argued in 2003 that to manage stressful encounters, it is important for students to develop different coping strategies (as cited in O’Brien, 2014) 9.Various types of stressors, like pressure from school, vague outcomes, and societal dynamics greatly affect the life of college student and their cognitive capacity to perform in academics (Dr. Matthew, 2017 ) 11.Each student experiences stressors of many types but possesses improper ways of dealing with them. Fear of failure, time pressure, financial, and academic problems as well as imposing guardians are some of the other major sources of students stress (Dr. Matthew, 2017) 13.Stress Level Personal, academic, financial, and employment conditions are four sources of stress. Mental stress has a noticeably good correlation with employment and academic situations of college students. There also exists economic and personal factors are positively associated with mental stress but they vary across different individuals (Hong & Zhang, 2011) 10. Most students determine the main reason for stress is academic pressure and studies recorded rising accounts of lack of sleep, academic dishonesty, depression, drug abuse, and self-injury. Although struggling students are expected to be most vulnerable school-related stress, researches imply that high achievers are also highly susceptible to to academic stress (Blazer, 2010) 12.Coping MechanismsPearlin & Schooler (1978) expounded on social behavior and defined coping in a broad manner, stating that:Coping is defined as the actions that protects people from being affected psychologically by social problems, an action that helps deal with the impact that societies have towards their members. The protective means of coping can be improved in three ways: by ridding conditions that arouses problems; by finding another angle to view an experience such that it eliminates its problematic character; and by limiting the emotional consequences of problems. The effectiveness of coping behaviors representing these functions was evaluated. Results show that individuals’ coping mechanisms are most effective when dealing with issues within the personal areas of marriage and parenting and least effective when dealing with problems related to work. Effective coping mechanisms are not equally distributed in society, with men, the educated, and the rich making greater use of effective mechanisms. (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978)As stated by Lazarus and Folkman throughout the years, coping strategies have two main objectives, namely controlling the factors that trigger stress and directing emotions that causes it. (as cited in Kausar, 2010). These strategies are the methods employed by the individual in coping with stress. On a social perspective, Baquyatan, Shadiya, and Mohemed explained that:Coping strategies emphasizes a range of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. This indicates that coping is based on an individual’s psychological reaction to stress, their judgments of events, their attentions and the results they wish. Coping also depends on social and personal relationships. The strategies that adolescents use are seeking social support, problem solving, distraction, emotionally focused problem solving, self-reliance etc. College students worry about their need to perform, grades, fear of failure, career, relationships, and other aspects of the college environment which are real life difficulties that might cause mental stress.” (Baqutayan, Shadiya, Mohemed (2012) Strategies of Coping with Academic StressSome have the ability to handle the same level of stress while others have a hard time dealing with it because different people react differently according to their innate psychological, and biological characteristics, which defines their stress tolerance (Well & Graf, 2011).Covington & Beery (1976) stated that the self worth theory is a standard of a person’s value by their recognition of their own helplessness that causes them to be ashamed or embarrassed. In their current state, they avert themselves by changing the definition of failure by secretly ignore their real capacity (O’Brien, 2014) . There are two major plans: “(a) Defensive pessimism – This protects students who are afraid of failing by cocooning them against anxiety prior to the stress afflicting task (Cantor & Norem, 1989, p. 93), (b) Self-Handicapping – changes the meaning of failure by avoiding the cause of failure away from the students’ ability onto premeditated excuses (Midgley & Urdan, 2001).”Methods of alleviating/moderating stress:Time management techniques like fulfilling responsibilities, accomplishing goals, and relaxing afterwards require a sense of self-control and a well-moderated schedule.Setting up a list of particular objectives will lift the mood for upcoming activities.Avoiding procrastination can positively affect work quality, sleep, motivations, and create less stress.Regular exercise also helps redirect energy to burn stress.Ease the nerves by taking periodic breaks every after structured activities.Write a journal to aid in comprehending one’s emotions as well as keeping track of life choices.Recognize limitations to match intrapersonal and interpersonal expectations.Plan recreational activities in between schedules.Search for fun. Stress can be relieved by laughing.Recognize the ideas which may be distressing. Re-evaluate inaccurate personal beliefs like wrong estimations of expectations for tasks to create more ‘down-to-earth’ thoughts.Talk to family and friends about stressful circumstances without emphasizing too much on the negative while also thinking of three or more good things that happened.Set a specific goal using a goal-setting worksheet and working towards it gradually using a weekly motivator worksheet to persist will be helpful in ameliorating mood and minimizing stress. Effectiveness of Coping MechanismsFolkman and Lazarus’ work in 1998, “Ways of Coping Questionnaire” was used to obtain total scores from three different Likert scales, namely the main, supplementary, and applied levels of measurement. The main scale is consists of (a) solving problems via different tactics to handle stress; (b) cognitive restructuring of mind techniques that emphasizes on rationalizing stress; (c) social support from intimate relationships to communication emotions; (d) problem evasion which is the deliberate avoidance of thoughts related to the problem; (e) wishful thinking and hoping to increase the desirability of the situation but not altering the essence of the problem; (f) social withdrawal or leaving people who are close to them or the problem, and; (g) self-criticism through blaming oneself in the status. There are also four combinations of problem-based and emotional-based confrontation or avoidance. Problem-based confrontation is an integration of psychological reformation and problem-solving to describe intellective responses to tackle the stressful circumstance while emotion-based confrontation quantifies social and emotional support and mediates communication to address and evaluate the person’s emotional response. Moreover, problem-based avoidance encompasses the avoidance of the problem by wishful thinking and behavioral attempts of dodging the issue and emotion-based avoidance is the derivation of both blaming and withdrawing one’s self from others (as cited in Monteiro et al., 2014).Two kinds of coping behaviors are considered: maladaptive and adaptive coping. Adaptive coping leads to positive, active behaviour and vigorous social and physical actions in each person. Contrariwise, maladaptive coping have a bad effect. Giancola et. al. pointed out four kinds of adaptive coping strategies and four types of maladaptive coping behaviors as detailed below (2009):Adaptive strategies against maladaptive behaviors:Positive reinterpretation vs. DenialInstrumental social support vs. VentingActive coping vs. Substance usePlanning vs. Behavioral Disengagement Various researchers (Regehr, Glancy, & Pitts, 2013; Robotham & Julian, 2006) concluded that the quality of life, mental health, and academic performance that undergraduate and graduate students have might be affected negatively by the escalated psychosocial stress detailed by university populations. “Bland, Melton, Welle, and Bigham (2012) suggest that college students often use maladaptive coping strategies and lifestyle habits that may serve to exacerbate the effects of academic stress, and that there is a need for interventions that promote more adaptive forms of coping with stress among college and university student populations.”, as cited in Dundas et al, 2016). 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