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ISSN: 2161-0487
Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy

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Stress into University Students Impacts the Learning Quality

Leide Silva do Carmo1, Jessica Labes Ferreira1, Maria José Cícero Oger Affonso1, Antonio Queiroz Pereira Calças1, Priscila Belintani1 and Idiberto José Zotarelli Filho2*

1University Center North Paulista, Psychology degree, São José do Rio Preto SP, Brazil

2Post graduate and Continuing Education, Street Ipiranga, 3460, São José do Rio Preto SP, Brazil

Corresponding Author:
Idiberto José Zotarelli Filho
Post graduate and continuing education
Unipós, Brazil
Tel: + 55(17) 3203-4039
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: February 19, 2016 Accepted date: March 10, 2016 Published date: March 21, 2016

Citation: do Carmo LS, Ferreira JL, Affonso MJCO, Calças AQP, Belintani P (2016) Stress into University Students Impacts the Learning Quality. J Psychol Psychother 6:248. doi:10.4172/2161-0487.1000248

Copyright: © 2016 do Carmo LS, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The stress in the routine of academics has several health-related consequences and affects the performance of study and learning. The aim of this study was to evaluate some characteristics of student-workers and correlate the dual journey of study and work with stress and its consequences. A questionnaire was applied to the pupils of the course of Psychology of the University Center of North on the profile of the College student psychology course. The survey results show that only 28 study while students ‘72 study and work, the majority, about daily 7:00 h. The sum of work schedules, school, transport and total sleep 21 hours, the student has only 3:00 h to reconcile the remaining activities. It is concluded that the student does not have full control or good exploitation on your time scarce, often have difficulty in choosing priorities.


Psychological stress; Educational psychology; Health sciences students


With entry into the university youth is marked by several changes. The challenges that arise in this new stage of his life, as the demands on the university campus, the grueling routine and adaptation to the environment trigger triggers of stress [1]. Each individual has their limit and ways to reach equilibrium after stressful events. The more resilient it is and more strategies to use, the longer the individual will be able to resist the factors causing stress, and when the body does not find solution to deal with stress, then suffers and weakens [2], thereby raising, physiological symptoms like flu, gastrointestinal upset, headache, hypertension, as well as psychological anxiety, pessimism, fatigue and others.

The concept of health helps us understand the relationship of causes and effects that trigger when the estressamos; thus, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), “Health is a state of wellbeing bio-psycho-social, and not merely the absence of disease” [3]. Stress is caused by psycho-physiological changes resulting from the individual’s confrontation with a situation that somehow confuse, annoy, threaten, or to do so thoroughly happy; having as a definition; reactions of the organism to physical and psychological components [4]. Derogatis and Coons [5] define a stressor as any stimulus interpreted by the individual as threatening, causing a stress reaction, disturbing, so homeostasis, causing emotional and physical imbalance of the person.

According to Franco [6] during academic training, the student of psychology can live moments of anxiety for emotional triggered by the course itself. Having during graduation, seminars, events, lectures and internships. During the course, the accumulation of knowledge and contact with the practice generate more anxiety. In the final year student of psychology, in its stages, dealing directly with others, you can run into stressful situations, leading to greater emotional distress.

The body shows signs and symptoms to fatigue, tiredness and stress and it is necessary to seek a return to balance, if necessary seeking professional help for those causing excessive stress and harmful [2]. Milsted et al. [7] in research with psychology students of evening classes using the inventory LIPP showed that 71.79% of students were stressed. The reporting of physical symptoms had the highest incidence (64.28%), followed by psychological symptoms (26.19%) and both the concomitant symptoms (9.52%).

Baptista and Campos [8] point, a study conducted in the course of psychology degree, that 46.06% of the students were on the resistance phase of stress and exhaustion, and have low social readjustment.

In a longitudinal study of the occurrence of burnout in psychology students, comparing students of 1st and 4th year psychology, Tarnowski and Carlotto [9] observed an increase in dimension of emotional exhaustion in the final years of the course with a greater occurrence of feeling wear. The authors suggest that this result occurs:

Due to the accumulation of tasks: placements and reports, definition and elaboration of course conclusion work, expectations for the latest reviews and approvals in the disciplines, participation in meetings and preparations for graduation. These situations should be aligned with their work activities, given that the majority (61.3%) in group investigated combines study with work. During this period, also occur anxieties facing the labor market, the student may be questioned about his preparation to join the same.

The stress per se cannot be regarded as a problem, but a response our body uses its energy reserves in order to keep it in equilibrium on a stressor. At this level it is called eustress. Too much can become at risk for the person, when it is called distress [10].

Often stress is named as pressure. But most people are able to afford some level of pressure, whether at work or university. The distress is a stage that occurs when we exceed the pressure limit; it is cumulative. The longer the time of distress, the more it can affect daily life, health, and if there is no care intervention can result in extreme stress spectrum [11]. The stress of college student today, is connected primarily with the pursuit of achievement [3].

The aim of this study was to evaluate some characteristics of the course students-workers of Psychology of the University Center North Paulista - UNORP and correlate the double shift of study and work with stress, its symptoms and consequences.

Study Design


The total number of students enrolled in the course of Psychology in the school year of 2014 (220) belonging to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th night year and 5 day year, participated in the data collection 182 students, who were present on the day of collection data.


These were given free and informed consent and answered the questionnaire, having been the absence of the student in the application date the only criterion for exclusion.

Data analysis

The instrument was applied by the authors during the school day. The issues addressed several issues related to socio-demographic data such as age, sex, work and the perception of students about the symptoms of stress. Made analysis of descriptive statistical analysis and statistical correlation of results with p < 0.01.

Results and Discussion

The socio-demographic data in the Psychology course show that 21% of students are male and 79% of female students. According Carmo et al. [12] this proportion coincides with the prevalence in professional practice in psychology. With regard to age, it was found that the average age of all students was 25.8 years among classes. Among college students, a minority, 28% only study while 72% of students study and work, most of these, approximately 7 hours per day (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Double Occurrence of study-work journey a) for most students, b) with large workload competing with academic activities.

Many of the students of evening higher education work and study, adopting a double or even triple day of activities, which may cause complications for their academic development and your health. The work may be associated with their livelihoods because often their families are not financially able to sustain it. The quest for higher education is motivated, among other factors, by a desire for personal fulfillment, the search for a better job, pay and their personal development. The choice of course can occur for various situations, among them, by vocation, financial condition and work [13].

As Silva and Caires [14] the fact that the individual be entering the labor market and maintain their studies generates a lot of stress. Joining the college has its positives - search for new knowledge and professional training - and negative - change of residence, away from home, friends, choose an institution that will meet your expectations - some of these factors can become stressful agents enhancers situations of physical and / or emotional imbalances.

Few people argue that the study hinders the work, but a high percentage of people consider that the work hinders the studies; even if the study is valued, work is placed as a priority and the conditioning to study hours left over, and this hampered way [13]. Stressors may be more present in the final year of psychology, which, if untreated, can continue in their profession, that is, can trigger symptoms in the academic period during the remaining working life [15].

In the survey it found that college students identified as most relevant stress symptoms: anxiety, nervousness, tension, overload, lack of interest, insomnia and dissatisfaction; and less relevant or frequent, pessimism, indecision and other (Figure 2). The results show that the anxiety is the symptom of stress most frequently cited. Anxiety is an emotion that causes a feeling of discomfort when we are in danger. This feeling prepares us to face the situation and issue behaviors that reduce or prevent the occurrence of danger. Anxiety is necessary for our survival, but we have to be alert as to the degree in which it presents [16].


Figure 2: Graph with distribution of the symptoms of stress of students of the UNORP Psychology. The y-axis shows the number of students that indicated the presence of symptoms. Many students showed the presence of several symptoms.

Carvalho [17] in his research sought to answer the high level of anxiety was associated with the choice of Psychology degree and demonstrated that the psychology student is no more eager than other courses and that the degree of anxiety does not increase during the course.

Assis et al. [18] research-were graduating in Psychology, found that the most common symptoms were feeling and constant physical stress and exhaustion, excessive irritability, followed by the desire to get away from everything. Students of higher education are in a vulnerable situation to stressors due to the challenges of academic life. Research shows a high level of stress, emotional distress and depression in university students [19].

An unpleasant feeling of apprehension, expectations and fear about the future can trigger signs of anxiety, temporary or permanent. According Marques and Tavano [20] most college students are at a moderate level of anxiety, closely related to concerns about the professional future. College students are exposed to a lot of trouble, such as family problems, financial difficulties, disagreements with colleagues in addition to the challenges in the academic and interpersonal relationships among the students one of the biggest causes of stress among students [21].

A very important factor shaken by stress is sleep. Being paramount to our survival, sleep plays an important role in the mental and body recovery, and many physiological effects, and acting in the processing of various types of memory [22]. In research with this same sample, referring to sleep, Carmo et al. [12] observed that 53% of students are not satisfied with their quality of sleep. Sleep is impaired due to university student shortage of time, using the time available for tasks related to college or for your leisure.

Data from this study showed that occasion identified as greater stress on college provocative are the ages of evidence, public speaking, seminars, reports, and other stages (Figure 3). Ramos [23] reports that during the evaluations students feel extremely anxious when have to make oral or written examination, and generally more anxious in oral and feels comfortable when they will discuss a particular job. The academic student life can be lived in different ways, because each person has their individual characteristics. The anxiety of the students can manage to fail in the ratings, the embarrassment in meeting deadlines and then not achieving its purpose [24].


Figure 3: Distribution of stressful moments in students of Psychology UNORP.

One of the factors causing stress within the academic environment to the health of students is the fact that it has to advise, diagnose and treat each other. But also have frequent contact with the pain and suffering of others; where the student should be well mentally to cope with the pain of another stage in the phase [25]. As the experience of college the most stressful times are periods of proofs when you need public speaking, seminars and reports. Such requirements for that student to leave him stressed, however it does not yield, and as time goes on, the requirements increase, making it even more stressed.

Over the years attending higher education require the person worries, fears and stress on the obligations that must be fulfilled, and it is very important to the recommendation of the need for psychological support to those who experience this time. So that, can deal with the triggers of stress, and also contributing to the training itself. The academic life makes often abandon its reality. Are living alone, would be sufficient to elicit stress [20].

According to research on healthcare students shows that the inability to cope with the psychological pressure and high workload are causing stress to students. The senior students often feel more stressed, thus the students are left with impaired concentration and fluctuation in mood. The activity suggested to decrease the stress would be sports, music, leisure activities, and interact with faculty and seek appropriate guidance, for once, does not affect the academic performance and all aspects of health [26].

When the person feels unable to alleviate these alone stressors, so there is a need to look for treatment, and that treatment has the goal of empowering the individual to deal not only with the stressors, but also with the symptoms presented by these three items : relaxation, exercise and anti-stress nutrition [27]. The relaxation exercise can be used as a way to relieve stress and can be performed anywhere and as often as necessary; where there will be an immediate action that can appease and soothe a need or tense situation [16].

Regular physical activity is one of the most widely used to ease the stress level strategies; studies have shown that physical activity has a positive effect in combating stress. Physical exercise direct influence on physical health, mood and indirectly in social life. In addition, other studies indicate that the participation of psychological factors is crucial for the development of physical activity, be it preventive or therapeutic denotation [28]. Since power is critical to combat stress, but changing eating habits is not an easy task, but need to use strategic in a healthy diet, choosing foods that have sources of nutrients and energy [29]. Our health problems can often be associated with various behaviors and habits; and these habits are unhealthy, people fail to satisfactorily produce the performance at work and studies [30].

The best treatment of stress, no doubt, would be prevention. Eliminate it completely is not possible, nor desirable, because we need the moderate doses. When in excess, leads to loss in the level of quality of life. One must learn ways to cope with stress and how to avoid it when it becomes harmful [31,32]. It is extremely important that students have, since the beginning of the course, a professional assistance to help you cope with stress and to contain excess anxiety that he has given the difficulties that may face, and thus can understand and prepare the difficult situation [25].

Symptoms of stress can arise at any moment of our day to day at the beginning may be just a warning sign, but the evolution of the stress has no defined term, so before you get sick, it is important to organize and control it . Analysis of the results of this research led to the formulation of the question: As the student-worker divides his time reconciling working hours, the period of classes in college, your traveling time and duration of sleep? We can lay this issue by the mathematical formula (Table 1).

≈ 8h work +
≈  4h classes +
≈  2h transport +
≈ 7h sleep period (also harmed).
≈  21 horas  (time spent on activities)

Table 1: Sum of hours spent on work activities, study and transportation. Source: research data.

So if the day has 24 hours remaining students 3 hours; which must be divided between meals, personal hygiene, cleanliness and organization of housing purchases, academic activities, leisure, family life and other commitments. To recap our sum formula schedules between work, school, transportation and sleep totaling 21 hours, the student only has three hours to accommodate other activities certainly a very short time and often insufficient.

Then we come to the following conclusion: the student does not have full control or good use of your limited time. The distribution of time to perform the activities must go through a process of prioritizing choices. Probably some of these activities will suffer, often sleep, affecting the health, sometimes damaging their socialization socializing or time to studies, leading to a decrease in their academic performance. It is important to students and educational institutions seek learning resources that facilitate memorization, study time management and curricular activities to ensure a minimum quality in learning and academic achievement.


It was concluded that there is need for the university to pay attention to the symptoms of stress that impair sleep, cause physical and emotional exhaustion occurring accumulation of stressors in times of tests, tutorials, jobs and internships, making prevention through physical activity, food health and relaxation techniques. Thus, our institution UNORP began a project reading and meditation open to students and teachers.


The work was financially supported by Unorp - University Center North Paulista - São José do Rio Preto – SP, Brazil.


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