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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

Elizabeth Williams

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Student Counseling and Personnel Services

Abstract

College students over the last three decades have reported increasing levels of stress (Astin A. W., 1998; Twenge, 2006). As students come to college feeling overwhelmed, student affairs professionals must prepare to address the issue of stress and explore possible interventions and program. Previous research on college student stress has tended to focus on bivariate relationships. Researchers have explored how technology, gender, race, and problem-solving confidence are related to perceived stress. Many studies have focused on the relationship between problem-solving efficacy and stress, as well as problem-solving skill development as an intervention to help manage stress.

Participants in this study were 627 undergraduate students at a four-year, highly residential, primarily White, public University in the Northeast who were involved in student government, residence hall associations, Greek letter organizations, and identity based cultural organizations. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the relationship between problem-solving confidence and students’ perceptions of their stress, while controlling for race, gender, technology use, and involvement. Participants were asked to complete on online survey that included questions about their technology use, extracurricular involvement, perceived stress, and problem-solving confidence. I utilized bivariate statistical analysis, one-way analysis of variance, and linear regression to analyze relationships and differences between sub-groups

Significant findings include the absence of a difference between stress and problem-solving confidence among men and women involved in leadership positions. Results of this study confirm a negative relationship between perceived stress and problem-solving self-efficacy, even after controlling for other factors contributing to stress. Furthermore, this dissertation contains implications for student affairs practitioners and directions for future study. Implications for student affairs professionals include designing intentional programmatic and advising interventions aimed at developing problem-solving confidence and efficacy to help student leaders better manage stress and increase student wellness and success. Areas of future study include gaining further understanding of female student leaders as well as expanding research to include a variety of organization types.

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