In to adverse effect on academic achievement

In the situation
of challenge or threat, the body reacts with an adaptive reaction to cope with
the situation. This stress response activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal
(HPA) axis and leads to an increased secretion of cortisol from adrenal cortex(Preuss et al. 2010). According
to Robotham, stress is the result of an individual’s perceptions towards demanding
situations where they have no ability to cope with it(Robotham et al., 2006). However, not all stress perceived by the body is bad for an
individual, they can give both either positive or negative consequences depends
on how it is managed. Sometimes, working under stress can boost up our
efficiency and productivity but prolonged stress may cause medical problems(Largo-Wight et al., 2005).

Undergraduate students
are at the stage of transitional between dependence and independence. Many have
to cope with the stresses of living away from home, academic demands and
workload, financial problems and problems with personal relationship(Stewart-Brown et al. 2000). They also may have to adjust to the change of curriculum which
they have to take a more active role in managing time and planning their

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studies.
Undergraduate students often experience an undue amount of stress, which could
lead to adverse effect on academic achievement and, the physical and
psychological well-being of students(Othman et al. 2016).

Many studies
showed gender differences in related to emotional adjustment. Specifically,
women experience higher rates of depression and anxiety than men (Ruiz-Aranda et al.,2014 and Richman et al., 1990). Matud et al. have
suggested that it is possible that women appraise threatening events as more
stressful than men do(Matud et al., 2004).
Other studies have determined that women find themselves in stressful circumstances
more often than men(McDonough and Walters 2001).

Stress
questionnaires assess the negative emotional states at a predefined time
period, whereas measurement of cortisol concentration in biological samples represents
the activation of the physiological stress response(Vanaelst
et al. 2012).
Stress condition has been proved to increase cortisol level in the body (Aube
et al. 2002)
and thus serum cortisol is a useful biomarker to assess stressful phase at
various times in the semester.

The
current study aims to assess the prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress using
the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)
and to identify their correlation with serum cortisol concentration among
female undergraduate students.

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