A Research Project to Identify Effective Coping Strategies that Enhance Resilience to Anxiety in Students
Hore, Alexander James
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1.1 Background Students transitioning to university face a variety of new experiences that can cause an extreme amount of stress (Welle, 2011). However, not all students react in the same way to stress (Welle, 2011). It has been proposed that the ability for some students to react positively to stress and others negatively is attributed to an individuals coping style (Zong, 2010) 1.2 Aim The aim of this study was to explore the ways that students adapt and cope with life at university, and to identify what coping strategies students utilise to enhance resilience to anxiety. 1.3 Method This is a qualitative study using interpretative phenomenological analysis to analyse semi-structured interviews. A non-clinical sample of two male and six female undergraduates were recruited from a university in south wales. 1.4 Results The analysis revealed six superordinate themes. They are 'reasons for attending university', 'stressors associated with attending university', 'positive and negative effects of anxiety', 'emotional coping strategies utilised by students', 'physical coping strategies utilised by students' and 'stressors related to course requirements'. 1.5 Conclusion The present study highlights the variety of coping strategies utilised by students, ranging from emotional to physical. A key finding revealed that coping strategies such as avoidance are maladaptive mechanisms, and only limit stress for a short period before returning more severe. Stress was revealed to impact students in a mixture of positive and negative aspects, such as a decreased memory span and improved motivation. This study indicates the need for universities to implement strategies in reducing student stress.
B.Sc. (Hons) Psychology
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