Many people remember their college years as the most carefree time of their life, but apparently that’s not the way students see it. Not today’s students, anyway. In a recent Student Panel survey conducted by OnCampus Research, college students report that their current stress level far exceeds what they believe to be healthy for a typical student (7.5 vs. 5.6 on a 10-point scale).
Over 50% say they feel stressed “very often,” and 42% feel nervous or anxious at a similar rate. Conversely, only 23% say they “very often” feel confident in their ability to handle their personal problems.
Coping with stress
While the vast majority of college students believe that stress management is very-to-extremely important, only 21% feel they handle it very-to-extremely well. Overall, most students sleep when they're feeling stressed, followed by exercising or walking, watching TV or listening to music.
Again, coping mechanisms change with maturity. Seniors and graduate students also sleep, exercise, and watch television, but they’re much more likely to trade music and playing sports for drinking alcohol, with a considerable 32% selecting that stress reliever, compared with only 13% of freshmen.
Most are familiar with stress management resources available to them on campus, including counseling and mental health services, exercise classes, yoga, extra snacks during finals, and 17% even indicated the availability of massages at their schools.
Interestingly, 68% of students identified mental health counseling as an available stress management option, but only 10% claim to make use of those services themselves.
This online survey was emailed to the OnCampus Research student panel of more than 16,000 students. The survey fielded from May 1, 2016 – May 7, 2016. A total of 2,474 valid responses were collected. The margin of error for this survey was +/- 1.56% at the 95% confidence level.