College students and stress

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Stress is a reality that college students live with every day, “with 39% reporting that their stress has increased in the last year (American Psychological Association, 2013)” (Coccia and Darling 28). The way they choose to deal with it, however, determines whether they succumb to pressure or use it as motivation to accomplish challenging goals. Ironically, the Internet has contributed to both the proliferation of stress and different ways of coping, adaptive or maladaptive. In fact, students’ feelings on the matter are ambivalent, as they recognize that “use of the Internet as a coping strategy for negative psychological states may also perpetuate these states in the long-term” (W. Li et al. 14). A more effective approach is increasing self-efficacy and resilience through active coping strategies, which “require individuals’ efforts to single out the causes of stress and uncover promising ways to eliminate them” (M. Li and Yang 321). Thus, active coping counters the tendency to avoid difficulties by emphasizing instead the importance of seeking solutions, maintaining a positive outlook, and asking for help when needed.

Keeping this debate in mind, develop an original argument in response to the following question. (Make sure to use and analyze quotations from the sources provided in order to establish a theoretical framework that sheds light on specific case studies and examples selected from the texts):

Given its role in communication, relationships, and daily life, how does technology influence college students’ ability to cope with stress?

Although the question in bold is the one you need to answer, I am providing some additional questions to get you thinking about the topic. Please do not answer all of them in any given order:

  • How are communication, relationships, and technology intertwined?
  • What is the “family ecosystem framework” and how does it help explain the interaction between students and their environment? Why is “time” such an important element in this model?
  • What role do the Internet and social media play in preserving or disrupting the “ecosystem”? When do students use them and why?
  • How do the resilience-stress theories relate to the diathesis-stress theories? Why is active coping linked with resilience whereas avoidance is a sign of vulnerability?
  • How are active coping strategies illustrated in the example of the first-generation Hispanic student, Ana Ramos? What inner mental processes and outside sources of support help her in the end?


“Having the Time of Their Life: College Student Stress, Dating and Satisfaction with Life” by Catherine Coccia and Carol A. Darling

“Characteristics of Internet Addiction/Pathological Internet Use in U.S. University Students: A Qualitative-Method Investigation” by Wen Li, Jennifer E. O’Brien, Susan M. Snyder, and Matthew O. Howard

“A Cross-Cultural Study on a Resilience-Stress Path Model for College Students” by Ming-hui Li and Yan Yang

“Underrepresented and In/visible: A Hispanic First-Generation Student’s Narratives of College” by Kimberly B. Pyne and Darris R. Means

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