A descriptive correlational study of perceived stress and perceived health problems in baccalaureate nursing students in small private colleges

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Scott, Marcia L.
Ryan, Marilyn E.
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Thesis (M.S.)
School of Nursing
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The purposes of this study were to describe perceived health problems and perceived stress and examine the relationship between perceived health problems and perceived stress in nursing students in five small religiously affiliated colleges with schools of nursing in Indiana.The Neuman Systems Model (Neuman, 1989) was the theoretical framework for the study. Health problems were examined using the Health Problems Inventory (Jones, L. H., 1988) and stress was measured by the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983).Findings included a moderate level of perceived health problems and a moderate level of perceived stress for the 150 study participants. The relationship between perceived health problems and perceived stress was strongly positive at a significant level (r= .69, p< .001). These findings were consistent with other studies that showed a relationship between stress and health problems in college students. These findings support Neuman's model of the effect of stressors on the system (disrupting the stability).Conclusions were that there is a level of stress that is unmanaged and perceived health problems which may be interfering with the students' education. The study findings have implications for students, nursing faculty, and those who provide health care to college students. Implications are organized into Neuman's three modes of prevention: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Implications included assessment of students to determine the presence of stress, stress management education for students, alerting nursing faculty and health care providers to the health problems identified by students, and increasing faculty awareness concerning the stressful nature of nursing school.