US students stressed out: study

Jan 27, 2011

First-year students on US campuses are experiencing record levels of stress, according to a study showing increasing financial and academic pressures on young people entering university.

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) study, which surveyed 200,000 students entering their freshman year on American campuses last year, was released Thursday and found that just under 52 percent reported their was very good or "above average."

That figure represents a major decline from 1985, the first year of the self-ratings survey, when nearly two-thirds of incoming freshmen placed themselves in those categories. It's also a decline of 3.4 percentage points from 2009.

Female freshmen were more likely than their male peers to report feeling stressed. The UCLA researchers said just under 46 percent of females ranked their emotional health as very good, compared to 59 percent of males.

Women were more than twice as likely to frequently feel "overwhelmed by all I had to do" as high school seniors preparing for their first year of university.

"Stress is a major concern when dealing with college students," said John Pryor, lead author of the report.

"If students are arriving in college already overwhelmed and with lower reserves of emotional health, faculty, deans and administrators should expect to see more consequences of stress, such as higher levels of poor judgment around time management, and academic motivation."

America's economic crisis adds to the stress, according to the study, which said 53 percent of students rely on loans to help pay for college. In addition, nearly three-quarters of students reported receiving grants and scholarships, representing a nine-year high.

"The increasing cost of higher education poses a significant barrier to college access for today's students," said Sylvia Hurtado, co-author of the report.

"Students and families are now charged with the task of becoming more resourceful and strategic in finding new and creative ways to pay for college," she added.

Parents of students are also more likely to be unemployed: nearly five percent said their father was out out of work -- a record high; and the rate of unemployed mothers, nearing nine percent, continued to increase.

Economic concerns seem to have influenced students' political views. Nearly two-thirds of students said wealthy people should pay more taxes, compared to just half of the surveyed in 2002.

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dinkster
1 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2011
Waaaaaaaaaaaabulance! America is losing its backbone, beginning with the youth. The fifty percent freshman drop out rate isn't from high interest loans (which are still far lower then credit cards). People survived the Great Depression, why is this different?
pauljpease
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 27, 2011
@ dink,

Let me guess, you wrote that after you got home from your night job you need to afford the ramen noodles you just ate for the twelfth straight meal because you can't afford your overpriced apartment, while your student fees and tuition are increasing at rates so far above inflation you need to take a course on advanced differential equations to predict whether you can survive for one more semester? Right? That's why you're so empathetic?

And yes, people survived the great depression. Some of them. Many of them barely. And a lot of them only with government assistance. Guess they should have just sucked it up and been tough and eaten their shoes to survive, right? What a bunch of spineless weasels, right?
dinkster
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2011
@ dink,

Let me guess, you wrote that after you got home from your night job you need to afford the ramen noodles you just ate for the twelfth straight meal because you can't afford your overpriced apartment, while your student fees and tuition are increasing at rates so far above inflation you need to take a course on advanced differential equations to predict whether you can survive for one more semester? Right? That's why you're so empathetic?

And yes, people survived the great depression. Some of them. Many of them barely. And a lot of them only with government assistance. Guess they should have just sucked it up and been tough and eaten their shoes to survive, right? What a bunch of spineless weasels, right?


Actually all of the above, I just graduated 3 years ago, mostly funded by loans and credit cards. With dead a parent no less. Believe what you want.
dinkster
1 / 5 (1) Jan 27, 2011
To clarify the point I'm trying to make, I'll use a case example. Chinese students in general have a much more stressful environment, and typically perform much better than American students. The whole world is struggling with the Global economic collapse, and the US is STILL lagging behind other nations in general Academics. We should have the smartest children in the world, we certainly have the resources for it. This article is just an excuse.