|Year : 2018 | Volume
| Issue : 11 | Page : 8-15
Perceived impact of academic stress on academic performance among undergraduate nursing students of university of Jos
Cletus Okpe Daniel, Abraham Dare Ajayi, Oluwatoyin Abayomi Ogunyewo, Daniel Kwambe Ajio, Emmanuel Andy, Emmanuel Oyedele, Grace Daniel, Gimba Musa Solomon, Alfred Bala Haruna, Nanle Joseph Gusen
Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Jos, Nigeria
|Date of Web Publication||3-Jul-2018|
Cletus Okpe Daniel
Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Medical Science, University of Jos, P.M.B 2084, Jos
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Introduction: This research study was carried out to assess the perceived impact of stress on academic performance among undergraduate nursing students of the University of Jos. Research Design: The research design was a correlational descriptive study. Sampling was not needed since the entire population of 208 were used as participants for the study. An instrument for data collection was structured questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics, i.e., frequency, mean and percentage, and data presented in tables. Results: Results revealed that the common stressors found among undergraduate students and their (stressors') degree of influence on academic performance are finance; M = 3.5, exam; M = 3.5 among others had a strong influence, course load; M = 2.7 continuous assessment; 2.8 mean among others had a mild influence while overcrowded classroom and others fairly influence nursing students academic performance. The academic performance of undergraduate nursing students was satisfactory with 189 (81.7%) of the students having a cumulative grade point average between second class upper and second class lower. Nursing students perceived stress to have a negative impact on their academic performance. Being optimistic, having a relaxed state of mind were among other methods used by nursing students to cope with stress. Conclusion and Recommendation: The researcher concluded that stress is perceived by undergraduate nursing students of the University of Jos, to have a negative impact on their academic performance and recommended that the university/department introduce stress coping skills in the planning of undergraduate curriculum among others. Nursing students recommended that lecturers should be more friendly; financial burden be reduced on students, among others, as ways to help them cope with stress.
Keywords: Academic performance, coping mechanism, perception and impact, stress, stressors, students
|How to cite this article:|
Daniel CO, Ajayi AD, Ogunyewo OA, Ajio DK, Andy E, Oyedele E, Daniel G, Solomon GM, Haruna AB, Gusen NJ. Perceived impact of academic stress on academic performance among undergraduate nursing students of university of Jos. N Niger J Clin Res 2018;7:8-15
|How to cite this URL:|
Daniel CO, Ajayi AD, Ogunyewo OA, Ajio DK, Andy E, Oyedele E, Daniel G, Solomon GM, Haruna AB, Gusen NJ. Perceived impact of academic stress on academic performance among undergraduate nursing students of university of Jos. N Niger J Clin Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Sep 22];7:8-15. Available from: https://www.mdcan-uath.org/text.asp?2018/7/11/8/235859
| Introduction/Background of the Study|| |
For many undergraduate students, university life is a major transition in their lives since they are accorded the chance to decide what to do without the undue influence of their parents. The students make various decisions regarding all aspects of their lives such as academics, social life, and leisure activities. However, amidst the newfound freedom students have to struggle to meet the expectations of their parents, which include expectations related to their academic performance. In addition, society believes that graduating from a high-ranking university is a “passport” to a good job, high salaries, and high social status. As a result, students are indirectly subjected to a variety of stressors mainly linked to academic success.
The academic stress faced by the most student is attributed to poor study habits, such as poor time management, studying for exams, and coursework which may eventually lead to poor academic performance. Academic performance is mainly a function of students study habits referring to the students way of study whether systematic, efficient, or inefficient. The academic performance of university students currently is explained in terms of quality of the grades obtained in terms of the grade point average (GPA) or cumulative grade point average (CGPA) among others. Stress according to Meeks-Mitchell and Heit cited in Oyerinde is the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made on it. Stress is a part of the fabrics of human existence. Every individual regardless of race or cultural background, social, and occupational status and even children experience stress in many ways. The researcher focuses on the assessment of stress among undergraduate nursing students of the University of Jos and its perceived impact on their academic performance.
Statement of the problem
Students experience stress which comes from various aspects of life. The stress experience could come from developmental changes, financial and accommodation problems, or even academic challenges. In the University of Jos, over time I have observed that most students of the school have ended up spending more years than expected in their various disciplines due to academic failures (carry over's), sectarian crisis, students, protest, and strike without an understanding of how stress experienced affect their academic performance. More stress is probably experienced by nursing students due to a big range of content to be learnt, heavy workload, test and examinations, seminar presentations, and frequently changing clinical environment. This research is carried out to assess the stress experienced by the students and its relationship to academic performance.
Specific objectives of the study
- To identify undergraduate nursing students stressors and its degree of influence on academic performance
- To determine the academic performance of undergraduate nursing students
- To identify the different stress experienced by undergraduate nursing students based on levels
- To determine the perceived impact of stress on academic performance
- To ascertain the methods used in coping with these stress
- To elicit from respondents their recommendations for coping with stress experienced.
There is no significant relationship between undergraduate nursing students' perceived stress and academic performance.
Significances of the study
This study will enlighten the University of Jos undergraduate students on the implication of stress to their academic performance. It will also enlighten the institution on the need to plan and conduct necessary programs for the students so that stress could be reduced to barest level to help the students in attaining better academic performance. Students will realize the need to mobilize effective coping strategies to improve their academic performance. It will also give an understanding to the government on the need to reduce the financial burden placed on undergraduate students of the university. It will inform the nursing and midwifery council of Nigerian on the need to include stress management and reduction techniques in undergraduate nursing curriculum.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The study uses descriptive design and the population for the study comprised all 300 level to 500 level undergraduate nursing students of the University of Jos totally 208 students. All of the students were used, so sampling was not required. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. The questionnaire comprises seven sections: Section A: Students profile; Section B: Perceived stress scale (PSS); Section C: Perceived impact of stress on academic performance scale (PIOSOAPS); Section D: Academic performance of students; Section E: Stress factors survey and their (stressors) degree of influence on students study; Section F: Methods of coping with stress; and Section G: Recommendations for coping with stress. In Section A, the respondents were asked to furnish sociodemographic information. The questions in Section B were intended to measure individual perception of stress using the PSS. The PSS is a ten 10-item scale developed by Cohen et al. The PSS has been acknowledged as the most widely used psychological instrument in measuring the perception of stress. It is designed to measure the degree to which respondents found their lives unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overloading.
This study adopts the construct of PSS using a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (never), 2 (almost never), 3 (sometimes), 4 (fairly often), and 5 (very often). In Section C, the PIOSOAPS developed by Omomia et al. was used. It (PIOSOAPS) is a 6-item scale that rates how respondents perceived stress to have impacted on their academic performance on a five-point Likert scale with the anchors: 1 (strongly disagree), 2 (disagree), 3 (undecided), 4 (agree), and 5 (strongly agree). Furthermore, in Section D, students were asked their CGPA. In Section E, the stress factor survey was used to determine stressors that have been found to influence the academic performance of students. This section requires the participants to identify the factors of stress that they experienced during the last academic session by answering the four-point Likert scale with the anchors: 1 (fairly), 2 (mild), 3 (strongly), and 4 (very strongly). Fourteen factors of stress were listed down. The researcher developed the section, and the common students stressors were gathered from literature review.
In addition, Section F gathered information on the methods nursing students use to cope with stress by answering the four-point Likert scale with the anchors 1 (strongly agree), 2 (agree), 3 (disagree), and 4 (strongly disagree) while in Section G, students were asked to recommend ways to cope with stress experienced by undergraduate Nursing students of the University of Jos. The face and content validity of the instrument were done by experts in measurement and evaluation in the department of nursing science, and their corrections were effected before the final draft used for data collection. The two scales used (PSS and PIOSOAPS) in this research were standard scales developed by Cohen et al. and Omomia et al., respectively, which have been widely used for similar research due to their validity and reliability using test retest, and the reliability index was 0.88 which shows that the instrument is reliable and therefore fit for data collection.
The respondents were fully informed about the scope of the research and their consent fully obtained. Confidentiality was assured; they were informed about the benefit to be derived from the study. Permission was also sought from the department before carrying out the research. The researcher went into each of the three (300–500) levels to administer the questionnaire. Participation in this study was voluntary, and informed consent was taken from all participants. The purpose of the research was explained to all the participants. Students were encouraged to fill the questionnaire truthfully since anonymity was assured by excluding names and matriculation number from the research instrument and since their responses were to be used for research purpose only. Two hundred and eight questionnaire was administered across the three levels (300–500) and retrieved immediately after their responses.
Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics, i.e., frequencies, percentages, and mean. Hypothesis was tested using inferential statistics ANOVA. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 22.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp) version 19.0 was used for data analysis. Data obtained were presented in tables. The mean response for each item was computed by multiplying the frequency made by the nominal values. The sum of the values obtained by each items was divided by the total number of respondents to get the mean. The decision rule was that if the mean for an item is 2 and above for 4-point Likert scale being the midpoint, it shows acceptance for the item. If the mean for an item is below 2 for the same 4-point Likert scale, it shows rejection of the items while for 5-point Likert scale, items with a mean of 2.5 and above show acceptance while means of below 2.5 shows rejection for the items.
| Results|| |
[Table 1] shows that out of a total of 208 respondents, 112 (54%) were male and 96 (46%) were female. With regard to the respondent's age, those within the age range of 21–25 was 102 (49%), those within the age range of 26–30 was 64 (31%) while those that was 30 and above was 30 (14%). 55 (26.4%) were from 300 level, 80 (38.5%) were from 400 level, and 73 (35.1%) were from 500 level.
[Table 2] revealed that the respondents accepted course load (M = 2.7), finance (M = 3.5), continuous assessment (M = 2.8), examinations (M = 3.5), poor nutrient (M = 2.5), inadequate learning materials (M = 3.1) conflict with parents/sibling (M = 2.3) conflict with classmate/roommate (M = 2.1), competition/fear of failure (M = 2.2), lecturers attitude (M = 3.2), teaching methodology (M = 2.5) as their most common stressor but rejected overcrowded classroom (M = 1.4), and environmentalism condition (M = 1.5). Other sources of stress as identified by nursing students are a social activity, working full time job, and excessive school work.
|Table 2: Common stressors found among nursing students and its degree of influence on academic performance|
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[Table 3] shows that 106 students had a CGPA within the range of 2.40–3.49 (51%), 83 students had CGPA within 3.5–4.49 (39.9%), 11 students had CGPA within 1.50–2.39 (5.30%), and 8 students had CGPA within the range of 4.5–5.0 (3.8%).
[Table 4] revealed that the respondents rejected the last statement with an average mean of 2.3. The respondents disagreed on the statement that stress makes me helpless and this result in disengagement from my school work. As shown in [Table 4], further revealed that the respondents accepted the statements; an optimal level of stress enhances my learning ability (M = 4.0), I find it difficult to concentrate in class when I am stressed (M = 4.2), I became sick and unable to concentrate when I am under pressure (M = 3.5), I am usually disenchanted with school work when I face stress (M = 3.6), and I perform poorly in class when I am tired and all stressed up (M = 4.4). [Table 5] show that the respondents accepted all the statements, i.e., I find it easy to deal with challenging problem when I am in a relaxed state of mind and body (M = 2.7), a cool and calm environment helps to promote thinking ability (M = 3.2), getting enough sleep helps to keep the body and mind equipped to deal with negative stressors (M = 3.1), good relationship with family members, friends and peers help to ease or reduce stress while fostering a lasting relationship (M = 2.8), I feel less stress when I manage my time properly (M = 2.4), optimism (thinking positive) enables one to cope with stressful situation (M = 2.6), easting well help the body to get the right nutrients to function at its best and so minimize stress (M = 2.1), and relaxation, mediation, deep breathing activates my body system by increasing the feeling of joy (M = 3.1).
|Table 4: Perceived impact of stress on academic performance of nursing students|
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[Table 6] reveals that majority of the items on the PSS of the respondents described as “sometimes.” It shows that sometimes the respondents were unable to control the important things in their life (M = 2.8), sometimes felt that things were not going their way (M = 3.0), sometimes they found out that they could not cope with all the things that they had to do (M = 3.0), sometimes they felt nervous and stressed (M = 2.7), sometimes they have been able to control irritations in their lives (M = 3.0), and sometimes they felt they were on top of things (M = 2.5). [Table 6] further shows that there are four items described as “fairly often.” It reveals in [Table 6] that the respondents fairly often felt upset because of something that happened unexpectedly (M = 4.0), fairly often felt confident about their ability to handle personal problems (M = 3.5), fairly often felt angered because of things that happened that were outside of their control (M = 3.1), and fairly often felt difficulties were piling up so high that they could not overcome them (M = 3.2).
- H0: μ2= μ2: There is no significant relationship between undergraduate nursing students' perceived stress and academic performance
- H1: μ2= μ2: There is a significant relationship between undergraduate nursing students' perceived stress and academic performance.
- Reject H0, but accept H1 if calculated/P/≤0.05
- Accept HO, but rejected H1 if calculated/P/>0.05.
Given the significant level or critical value of 0.05 when P < 0.05 there is a significant relationship.
From the ANOVA [Table 7], it can be deduced that the calculated P value, P = 0.017 is less than the P value tabulated P = 0.05 (i.e., the critical value), thus we accept the alternate hypothesis which states that: there is a significant relationship between undergraduate nursing students' perceived stress and academic performance.
|Table 7: ANOVA for undergraduate nursing students perceived stress and academic performance ANOVAb|
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| Discussion of Finding|| |
The first objective of the research is set out to identify undergraduate nursing student's stressors and its degree of influence on academic performance.
The study revealed that the common stressor among undergraduate nursing students includes course load, finance, continuous assessment, examination, poor nutrition, inadequate learning materials, conflicts with parents/siblings, conflict with classmate/roommate, competition/fear of failure, lecturers attitude, teaching methodology, problem with relationship (boyfriend/girlfriend), social activity, working full time job, inadequate sleep, and excessive school work.
Course load was identified as one of their common stressors probably due to the curriculum of nursing which requires broad study on each of the courses to be learnt, for example, students are expected to study all medical and surgical conditions in a space of 2 years along with other core and elective courses. Finance also was a common stressor among nursing students, this can be because of the expenses involved in transportation like coming for lecture from their various hostels and during clinical posting, it could also be due to financial contribution students make in producing a seminar or presentation work or demand made by various students associations and the bursary payment made in every session by nursing students which is said to be one of the highest compared to other departments, it could also be due to financial requirements made from nursing and midwifery council of Nigeria for writing the professional qualifying examination.
Furthermore, nursing students are not only just faced with the normal university semester examinations but also with clinical and council examinations. Inadequate learning material is one of their common stressor may be because the departmental library has an inadequate or lack of current textbooks, internet access, journals, etc., and the university library was burnt down during this study. Lecturer attitude was a stressor maybe because some lecturers were unfriendly or unapproachable or inconsiderate of students challenges.
Teaching methodology was also identified as a stressor may be because in the past academic session, unfavorable teaching method was used, for example, presentation method. Other stressors identified were more or less personal. This result is similar with the result of the study conducted by Lauro and Emma who found that finance, not getting enough sleep, social activities, nutrition, course load, class attendance, not exercising enough, problem with boyfriend/girlfriend, problems with roommate, being married, working fulltime job and working a part-time job were the major students stressors. The results are also in accordance with the study conducted by Angolla and Ongri, who found attending lectures, examinations, school curriculum, and inadequate learning materials were students stressors.
The result of the present study slightly differs from the result of the study conducted by Omomia et al., who found conflict with parents, friends, sibling, concern about their appearance, fear of failure, excessive school work, inadequate recreational facility, overcrowded classes, and the scope of study as the stressors found among students. The slight differences could be that nursing students did not border much about recreational facilitates and that the classes in the department are adequate to comfortably contain the number of students and so was not a source of stress to them (University of Jos nursing students). It could also be because while this research was carried out among nursing students the other was carried out among biology students.
The degree of influence for the identified stressors on nursing student's academic performance is as follows: finance; M = 3.5, exams; M = 3.5, inadequate learning materials; M = 3.1, and lecturers attitude; M = 3.2 have a strong degree of influence on nursing student's academic performance. on the other hand, course load; M = 2.7, continuous assessment; M = 2.8, poor nutrition; M = 2.5, conflict with parents/sibling; M = 2.3, conflict with classmate/roommate; M = 2.1, competition/fear of failure; M = 2.2, teaching methodology; M = 2.5 and problem with relationship (boyfriend/girlfriend); and M = 2.1 have a mild degree of influence on their academic performance while overcrowded classroom and environmental condition with a mean of 1.4 and 1.5, respectively, fairly influenced their academic performance.
The stressors which had a strong influence on nursing student's performance could be because of the aforementioned reasons. On the other hand, stressors that were mentioned to have mild influence on their academic performance were probably because they were much easier to deal or cope with while stressors that fairly had influence on their performance where actually not considered by nursing students as source of stress. In this area of research, there has not been any previous research on it as reviewed by the researcher to make comparison of the result with.
This study also set out to determine the academic performance of undergraduate nursing students.
The academic performance of undergraduate nursing students was found to be satisfactory. This is because majority (106) of the students had CGPA within second class lower, 83 students had CGPA within second class upper, 8 students had CGPA within first class, and 11 of the students within third class.
The above academic performance of undergraduate nursing students was considered satisfactory by the researcher in consideration of the nature of the discipline of study, this is because the medical sciences discipline are usually perceived generally to be difficult to study, no wonder why there are standard and high requirement of qualifications for admission into any of the medical sciences discipline and nursing being a key figure to this faculty, and so on admission into the department, students are expected to study wide range of courses in addition to practical. The result shows that few student were performing excellently, a good number of students performance was good, and majority of the students were performing averagely while just a few had academic performance below average and so the researchers considers the overall performance as satisfactory. In this research, 81.7% of the students had GGPA between second class upper and second class lower, and this is similar to the research conducted by Edem et al., who found that 80.8% of the students studied had CGPA between second class upper and second class lower. Research in this area of study does not abound, and so the researcher could not find literature that differed with the result of the study area in consideration.
The perceived impact of stress on academic performance was also determined. This study found that undergraduate nursing students generally perceived stress to have a negative impact on their academic performance. This may be because majority of the students (49%) have their CGPA within second class lower but do want better performance that will see their CGPA within second class upper or first class and so most at time blame their performance on the identified stressors. The results herein are similar to the result of the study conducted by Omomia et al., who found that stress is perceived by biology students to have a negative impact on their academic achievement. This is also in congruence with the result of the research conducted by Kumar et al., who found stress to have a negative impact on academic performance of medial students. However, the result of the present study differs from that of the one conducted by Harlina et al., who found that medical students perception on the impact of stress toward academic performance was positive. The difference of this result with that of this present study could be that of location even as the one of the present study was conducted in Nigeria while the other was conducted in India, and there might have been other intervening variables in the type of stress experienced in the two different study areas.
This study also revealed the methods used by undergraduate nursing students to cope with those stress experienced which where having a relaxed state of mind and body, being in a cool and calm environment, getting enough sleep, having good relationship with family members, friends and peers, being optimistic (thinking positive), relaxing, meditating and doing a deep breathing activity, doing their school work sequentially, and learning to solve everyday problems. This result is similar to that of the study conducted by Omomia et al., who found that relaxed state of mind, doing things that are most important, getting enough sleep, eating well, optimism, having good relationship with family members, friends and peers working sequentially, regular exercise, and proper time management all help to minimize or control stress among students.
Last, this research elicited from respondents their recommendations for coping with stress experienced.
The respondents recommend that:
- Financial burden be reduced by nursing department, nursing council, and the university
- More learning material such as textbook, free internment access, and journals should be provided at the department library
- Lecturers should be more friendly
- Lecturers should be impartial, fair and considerate of student challenges
- Nursing and Midwifery council of Nigeria should review the curriculum of undergraduate nursing study of universities.
| Conclusion/Recommendations|| |
Stress is a broad concept which threatens university student's ability to meet academic demands and challenges. This research in line with other research conducted on stress and university students academic performance concluded that stress is perceived by undergraduate nursing students of the University of Jos to have a negative impact on their academic performance.
Based on the research findings, the following recommendations are made:
- The researchers wish to recommend that the University of Jos/department of nursing should organize seminar on stress management skills
- Identified stressors affecting academic performance should be considered by student's support system, friends, lecturers, and university management
- Lecturers should plan their lessons and sequentially execute their plan so that too much student presentation is avoided.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7]