Understanding stress as an impediment to academic performance

Patricia A Frazier, Abigail Gabriel, Addie Merians, Katherine Lust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objectives: Stress is the most commonly reported impediment to academic performance among college students. The objectives of this study were to examine the accuracy of these perceptions, identify demographic and psychosocial factors that distinguished among students who differed in perceptions of how stress affected their performance, and assess the relations between these factors and grade point average (GPA). Participants: Undergraduate students (N = 8,997) from 20 Midwestern schools. Methods: Participants completed online surveys during February–March 2015 that assessed perceived impediments to academic performance, cumulative GPA, demographic information, and psychosocial factors. Results: Students who reported that stress affected their performance had lower GPAs, and reported more stress and lower coping self-efficacy, resilience, and social support. Male, heterosexual, and ethnic-minority students were less likely to report having stress (but did not have higher GPAs). Conclusion: Stress reduction interventions should target psychosocial factors related to perceiving stress as an impediment and to poorer performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)562-570
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 18 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Academic performance
  • college students
  • resilience
  • stress


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