Full Length Research Paper

Non UK University students stress levels and their coping Strategies

Mark Owusu Amponsah 

School of Education, University of Manchester, 22 Craunton House, St. Mary’s Road, Eccles, Manchester, UK., M30 0AX. Email: mokamponsah@yahoo.com , kwakujoy1974@gmail.com ;Tel:+44 (0)1617892263, Mob: +44(0)7943490337

Received 12 April, 2010; Accepted 13 May, 2010 

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate stress levels, experiences of stress and coping strategies of non-UK students studying at the University of Manchester, UK.  The main purpose was to consider their perceived stress levels, their experiences of stress and their coping strategies and to link these to the continents from which they came, their gender and whether they were graduates or undergraduates.  This research consisted of two phases. The first phase was a survey that used self-administered structured questionnaire of 329 non-UK students who completed the perceived stress scale (PSS), the inventory of college students recent life experiences (ICSRLE) and the coping inventory for stressful situations (CISS). In addition, a further 74 UK students completed only the (PSS). Phase two was a qualitative study consisting of open-ended in-depth interviews of 16 volunteers. In all, 403 students participated in this study. Key findings indicated that, time pressure and work demands were the non-UK students’ most stressful experiences. Anxiety, academic alienation and future academic prospects and unfamiliarity with the educational and cultural norms added to their difficulties.  Gender was the most significant predictor of non-UK students’ stressful experiences, whilst female students expressed higher levels of distress than their male counterparts. In addition, task and avoidance strategies were used by all non-UK students to cope with stress, but European students tended to use more adaptive coping strategies than did Asian and African students.

Keywords: Stress, coping, culture shock, graduates, undergraduates, gender