The Relationship between Socio-Demographics and Stress Levels, Stressors, and Coping Mechanisms among Undergraduate Students at a University in Barbados

Nadini Persaud, Indeira Persaud


This study sought to learn about stress experienced by students enrolled in the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Barbados. This research was primarily undertaken to help UWI administrators/academic staff understand and address student stress. One hundred and six FSS students responded to:- (1) student perceptions on whether summer school courses were less stressful compared to semester courses, (2) the mean stress level associated with summer and semester courses, (3) FSS student stressors, and (4) coping mechanisms used by FSS students to handle stressors. The research revealed a statistically significant difference in the mean stress levels that students experienced between summer and semester courses. The key stressors identified were: (i) amount of work in each course, (ii) group projects being a nightmare, (iii) studying and working full-time, (iv) stress associated with work impacting studies, and (v) taking too many courses per semester. The primary coping strategies used by FSS students were: (i) taking some quiet time and then resuming studies, (ii) praying for renewed strength, (iii) sleeping more, (iv) eating more, and (v) engaging in a hobby. Statistically significant results were observed on several of the key stressors and coping mechanisms. The paper concludes by discussing implications for policy and practice which can aid UWI administration/academic staff to craft strategies that can assist in reducing the amount of stress experienced by students.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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