Stress is unavoidable, no matter the situation, location, or time; stress is always present. College students, especially freshmen, are a group particularly prone to stress due to the transitional nature of college life (Ross, Niebling, & Heckert 1999). The need to please their parents, the thought of success in life, and being able to sustain a reasonable income in the future, all of which fall on the shoulders of college students who are making decisions for a large portion of their lives. They also must adjust to being away from home for the first time, maintain a high level of academic achievement, and adjust to a new social environment. College students, regardless of year in school, often deal with pressures related to academics, finding a job and a potential life partner. These stressors do not cause anxiety or tension by themselves. Instead, stress results from the interaction between stressors and the individual's perception and reaction to those stressors. The amount of stress experienced may be influenced by the individual's ability to effectively cope with stressful events and situations. If stress is not dealt with effectively, feelings of loneliness and nervousness, as well as sleeplessness and excessive worrying may result. It is important that stress intervention programs be designed to address stress of college students. However, in order to design an effective intervention, the stressors specific to college students must be determined. With various stressors present on college campuses and such high standards set in place for college students to achieve, stress is rampant in their lives, causing their bodies to be completely out of sync.
Ross, Niebling, & Heckert (1999) studied the stressors present among college students and how it affected their quality of lives. They surveyed 100 undergraduate students, 20 males and 80 females, at a mid-sized Midwestern university where they found that the top five stressors among those undergraduate students were as follows: change in sleeping habits (89%), vacations/breaks (82%), change in eating habits (74%), new responsibilities (73%), and increased class workload (73%). The five least frequently reported stressors were; death of a friend (6%), severe injury (5%), transferred schools (3%), engagement/marriage (2%), and divorce between parents (1%). Quitting one's job (8%) was also an infrequently reported stressor. Another interesting result was that, in a college setting, events such as missing too many classes (21%) and arguing with an instructor (11%) only comprised 15% of the total responses. Their results suggest colleges to prepare incoming students for managing stress because stress in a college setting cannot be eliminated.
In another study performed by Hicks and Heastie (2008), a detailed questionnaire was provided to 514 college students from ages 18-23, where 53% of them were college freshmen. Their study indicated that on-campus college students experienced far...