Stress in College Students: Associations with Anxiety and Perfectionism

Hamblin, Emory (2018) Stress in College Students: Associations with Anxiety and Perfectionism. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Danielle Maack from Psychology, University of Mississippi.


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Psychosocial stressors are prevalent in the workplace and academic environment largely due to emotional responses from rising conflict, unattainable demands, or a decreased sense of control. An individual’s perception of stress is interrelated to the characteristic of perfectionism and the level of anxiety one possesses. Stress is commonly associated with adverse circumstances, and perfectionism is characterized by the setting of unrealistically high standards accompanied by a personal and social standard, attitude, or philosophy. Anxiety is characterized by increased physiological arousal, inhibition of ongoing activities, and a change in individual priorities. Previous studies have examined anxiety’s relation to stress-invoking stimuli, but none to date have studied perfectionism as the potential mediator between these constructs. The primary objective of the study is to assess whether perfectionism mediates the relationship between stress and anxiety. Participants included 150 undergraduate students from the University of Mississippi campus (77.33% Caucasian, 72.67% female, SD=1.523, M=20) with age ranging from 18 to 23, who were predominantly unemployed (60.67%). Upon arrival to the lab, participants reviewed an information sheet explaining the proposed study and completed a demographics form. Subjects then completed self-report measures, including the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS;Cohen et al., 1983); Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21; Lovibond et al., 1995); and the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS; Hewitt, P.L., & Flettt, G.L., 1990). As hypothesized, results indicated a significant positive correlation between the three constructs of interest (stress, anxiety, and perfectionism). Also in line with the hypotheses, findings from the primary analysis demonstrated perfectionism to mediate the relationship between stress and anxiety in college students. Overall, this study contributes to the literature replicating a significant association between stress and anxiety symptoms but is unique in that the trait of perfectionism moderates said relationship. Further research is needed to determine other possible predictors of stress so that its potentially negative effects can be controlled and minimized among the college population.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Hamblin, Emory
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. in Psychology and B.B.A in Business Management
Thesis Advisor: Danielle Maack
Thesis Advisor's Department: Psychology
Institution: University of Mississippi
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Depositing User: Emory Hamblin
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2018 14:55
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2018 14:55

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