Navigating the Transition to Postsecondary Studies: Exploring the Relationships Between Perceived Stress, Coping Styles and Academic Self-Efficacy
SubjectTransition, Postsecondary, Students, Perceived Stress, Coping Style, Academic Self-Efficacy
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AbstractThe transition to postsecondary studies is a time of newfound independence and responsibility for students. This period of self-discovery and personal growth can also be challenging; some students experience increased stress due to financial constraints, forming new social relationships, moving away from home and increased pressure to perform well academically. Because recent studies have found that postsecondary students are experiencing heightened levels of stress, the aim of the current study was to identify interpersonal factors that could attenuate student stress during the transition to postsecondary studies. It investigated the relationships between perceived stress, coping styles and academic self-efficacy. Additionally, gender differences were explored across the study variables. A sample of 324 students in their first year of university completed measures of perceived stress, coping, and academic self-efficacy. A multiple regression found that coping styles (task-, emotion-, and avoidance-oriented coping) and academic self-efficacy were significant predictors of first-year postsecondary students perceived stress, accounting for 47% of the variance in the model. Specifically, students high in academic self-efficacy, who utilized task- or avoidance-oriented coping experienced decreased stress. Conversely, students who utilized emotion-oriented coping experienced increased stress. Although, there were gender differences in students self-reporting across the measures, these differences were not statistically significant. As a result, gender did not influence the relationships between students’ perceived stress, coping styles and academic self-efficacy. Taken altogether, these findings suggest that building academic self-efficacy is an important resource for students as it leads to decreased perceived stress, and that both task- and avoidance-oriented coping can be effective coping styles in certain situations for managing stress.
CitationMatyjanka, O. (2021). Navigating the transition to postsecondary studies: exploring the relationships between perceived stress, coping styles and academic self-efficacy (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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