Study Suggests Student Stress

Katie Ventresca ’19
EE Contributor

Whether you’re a freshman trying to navigate the demands of a heavy course load while studying for your first midterm exams, or you’re a senior taking multiple AP classes and juggling the pressures of approaching college application deadlines, a survey of 30 randomly-selected Trumbull High students suggests that a high percentage of THS students may be at “high”’ to “very high” risk of stress-related health concerns.

It is well-known that today’s high school students face a lot of stress: college applications, music and sport commitments, standardized testing, part-time jobs and at-home responsibilities are all contributors. Previous research preformed by stress-researchers suggests that advanced-level courses, a schedule full of after-school activities, and sleep deprivation all contribute to students’ stress levels. One recent THS student survey collected data on how these factors affect Trumbull High School students’ stress levels.

A small sample of 30 THS students were asked to complete a survey whereby they indicated their grade level; quantity of Honors, AP, and ECE courses in which they are currently enrolled; how many hours they spend outside of school on extracurricular activities (work, volunteer, home responsibilities, sports, or clubs); and number of hours of sleep they receive on a typical school night. Anonymous questionnaire cards were distributed to randomly-selected students, who completed the survey to the best of their ability. Additionally, respondents completed a ‘Perceived Stress Scale’ (adapted from the American Sociological Association), which prompted students to indicate how frequently they felt out of control, upset, depressed, nervous, or angered, as well as how many times they felt confident in their ability to handle and cope with the stressors they faced in the past month. Students rated the frequency on a scale of zero (never) to four (very often).

The results are in! THS students are stressed! This study indicated that the mean stress level of THS students typically falls between 18.9 and 22.4, which, according to the American Sociological Association, means that students’ stress levels are “slightly-to-much-higher than average.” This proposes a “very high” level of health concern. What’s more surprising, nearly 27% of the students surveyed had stress scores greater than 28. What is the main cause? Of the surveyed students, most are currently taking an average of three Honors, AP, and/or ECE classes; they work an average of three hours and fifteen minutes each day; and receive an average of only six hours of sleep on a typical school night.

While the study only followed a small sample of THS students, the findings may be significant in understanding the overall stress-related health concerns of our student body. More in-depth study of this subject is recommended.

Editor’s Note: This article excerpted from a larger research project completed in Mr. Darrow’s AP Statistics class

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