Academic Stress among Students at the Higher Secondary Level


ACADEMIC stress is mental distress with respect to some anticipated frustration associated with academic failure or even unawareness to the possibility of such failure. Students have to face many academic demands, for example, school examination, answering questions in the class, showing progress in school subjects. 

Understanding what the teacher is teaching, competing with other class mates, fulfilling teachers and parents academic expectations. These demands may tax or exceed available resources of the students. As a consequence, they can be under stress, since the demand is related to achievement of an academic goal. So, academic related to the achievement of an academic goal. Bisht 1989) has defined academic stress as a demand related to academics that tax or exceed the available resources (internal or external) as cognitively appeared by the student involved. According to her, academic stress reflects perception of individual’s academic frustration, academic conflict, academic pressure and academic anxiety. She has given the definition of four components of academic stress as follows: Academic Frustration:- Academic frustration is a state caused by harm of some academic goals. Academic Conflict:- Academic Conflict is the result of two or more qua] hut in compatible response tendencies to academic goals. Academic Pressure:- When the student is under heavy demands of time and energy to meet academic goals. And Academic Anxiety:- Apprehension of harm to some academic goals. Academic Stress is an important factor accounting for variation in academic achievement. It also contributes to major mental health hazards, problems both physical and mental stress related diseases. Academic stress and overall adjustment of students were inversely related to each other for both public school as well as private school students. Private school students by and large stiffer from higher level of academic stress than their government school counterparts. 

High school students cite day to day stresses of school (e.g. tests, grades, home work, academic and achievement expectations) among their greatest stressors (Jarvis, 2000) Types of school- related stresses include, interactions with teachers and balancing one’s leisure time with school,(True et at 2007) earlier inventories of school- related stressor indicated nine types, including inadequate instructional methods, teacher—students relationships, heavy academic workload, poor physical classroom environments and disorganization surrounding academic assignments and schedules (Fanshawe, 1997) .

Different Causes 

Academic pressure is a significant source of stress for much school students (Tyrrell, 1992). Identified sources of academic-related stress have included fear of falling behind with coursework, finding the motivation to study, time pressures, financial worries, and concern about academic ability (Tyrrell, 1992). Additionally, students report stress over struggling to meet academic standards, time management worries, and concerns over grades (Olpin, 1997). Additionally, these sources may exist easily throughout the span of college students’ academic careers and may result in school students’ experiencing a great deal of stress during their school career. If prevention efforts are to be developed to assist students in dealing with and avoiding academic-related stress, a greater understanding of the relationship among school students’ use of coping strategies, social support, experiences of being parented, and academic-related stress needs to be gained. Causes of stress on students include both positive and negative stress, but we will focus here on the negative causes of stress on students. 

Academics: Alphabetically first among the causes of stress on students is academic pressure. Simply tackling more difficult assignments can demand stress management techniques. It might be wise for teachers to introduce students to this stress with an assignment such as a “Causes of Stress on Students Essay”. Requiring students to interview older students and educators, as well as research the Internet on the subject, could help them prepare for the stresses of academic challenges. 

Parental Pressure: Finally, students at either level experience stress from parental pressures. Parents want their children to succeed in school. They want to see good grades, but they also want to see success in life’s other areas. In their attempts to guide their children, parents can become one of the major causes of stress on students. It is wise for parents and others who work with students to take time to recognize the stresses students face, If they then provide stress management techniques, they will do much to relieve and encourage their students.

Peers: Like dating, peer relationships can provide estruses or distress. As peers apply pressure in regard to dress, behaviour, choice of friends or sic, and many other areas of life, that pressure can become a huge presence of stress on students. 

Environment: The school environment itself can be a cause of stress on students. Students moving into secondary education find it challenging to constantly move around to classes. Those matriculating to tertiary education are challenged with leaving home and establishing a new life in new setting. Both can cause stress on students. 

Extra Co-curricular: Colleges pressure high school students to engage in extracurricular activities such as choirs, clubs, sports, band, or volunteer work. The presence of these on a student application can go far toward acceptance. Hence in college, extracurricular activities still cause stress on students, once their presence on a job application is also an asset. 

Author is a Ph.D in Applied Psychology. He can be reached at:

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