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A Psychological Concepts, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1461

Essay

Stress

Stress (Carpenter & Huffman, 2009, p. 64) is a condition caused by anything that puts a demand on the body. A stressor refers to the trigger, which initiates the stressful reaction. It is important to note that the internal cognitive stimuli, environmental stimuli, or external stimuli make the human body respond with stress reactions. Eustress is a pleasant stress while distress refers to unpleasant stress. For the purpose of this paper, stress refers to the unpleasant/distress condition.

An article by Lewin Tamar

In an article published in the ‘New York Times’, Tamar Lewin examines the stress level in college freshmen. According to the article, there is a decline in the emotional health of college freshmen. This is a conclusion arrived at after 25 years of taking survey on the issue. “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010,” the name of the survey, involved over 200,000 students joining full-time four-year colleges. In the year 1985, the percentage of students who were found to be below average in emotional health stood at 64 percent. In the year 2010, the percentage had fallen down to 52 percent.

According to the article, Lewin cites that the survey results, according to campus counselors, evidence a common phenomenon of students suffering from stress before joining colleges. This stress comes from the worry of getting jobs after graduation and the students’ college debt. The stress increased with economic crisis inflicting pressures of finance on the parents of the students. However, the economy weighs less on college students according to other findings in the survey. Serious stress starts before college for many young people and the survey shows a higher percentage of women than that of men scoring low in terms of emotional health. This happens because the aspect in which men and women use their free time differ. Men spent their leisure in stress relieving activities such as sports while women in non-stress relieving activities such as helping in domestic chores.

Peer-reviewed journal by Batada, A. and Chanda, A

A peer reviewed article by Batada, A., and Chanda, A. “Exploring Stress and Coping among Urban African American Adolescents: The Shifting Lens Study” gives an insight into the question of stressors among adolescents in the group interviewed. According to the authors, significant long-term mental well-being and physical effects in adolescent youths arise from stress. To prevent chronic diseases such as depression, it is important to understand the role of unmanaged stress in early adolescence. The study by these authors aimed at exploring stress perceptions, use of coping strategies and sources of social support in the group of the youth engaged during the research.

The study was interactive and focused on the youth themselves. The assessment of the teens’ perceptions on stress used a mixed-method approach. The methods included filling of questionnaires, pile-sort activities, audio journals, and personal social support network maps. Twenty-six African American ninth grader teens in the years 2001-2002, from East Baltimore, Md, participated in the study.

The research recruited the teens using a snowball technique. Initially, 10 teens personally known to one of the researchers participated and thereafter the rest joined from the influence of the ten. To collect important data, the ninth grader teens took a one-month period participating between February 2001 and June 2002. The data collection from the teens used a month-long audio journal, a personal network map, a pile-sorting activity, and a self-administered questionnaire. However, for the first group of ten teens the researchers added pilot techniques and other methods of data collection such as workshops.

The results showed that teens prioritized other stress sources specifically from family, school, and friends. This contrasts emphasis by existing literature that cites stress among teens coming from the influence of neighborhood factors and violence. Depending on stress sources, the teens relied on different individuals for support. The study found among the participating teens sex differences in coping styles. The boys exhibited less active coping and support-seeking strategies than the girls.

In conclusion, the researches testified the unique contribution of the multiple data collection approach in collecting the perception of stress of the teens interviewed. The researchers want future research to explore stress using the youth perspective. There is a need of education about youth stress for adults and sex-specific stress management activities.

Comparison

There is a notable similarity between the article in ‘The New York Times’ and the journal by Chanda A. and Batada A. Both the journal and the article focus on teens. There is a decline in emotional health of teens joining colleges in America (Lewin, 2011). The college freshmen, according to Lewin, suffer from stress even before joining colleges. Stress among teens is an important health issue for it disrupts the teens’ ability to handle daily life demands (Batada & Chanda, 2006). For young people, stress emerges as they get into adolescence, a change associated with rapid changes in socioemotional aspects.

The results from the empirical study showed teens experiencing stress even before they entered colleges, a view supported also held by the popular article. The teens included ninth graders from nine high schools in East Baltimore City (Batada & Chanda, 2006). The way of coping with stress among boys and girls also receives attention. The boys deal with stress more often by engaging in stress relieving activities (Lewin, 2011). The boys exhibited less active coping and support-seeking strategies than the girls (Batada & Chanda, 2006). There is also noted similarity in stress sources in both the empirical study and the popular article. In the survey of over 200,000 college freshmen, stress for them began before they went to college (during high school) (Lewin, 2011). Increased amount of homework and the worry of exams stressed the teens in the ninth grade (Batada & Chanda, 2006).

The contrast

The empirical study differs from real world in many ways. First, it gives a description of the teens interviewed (the sample) unlike the popular article, which gave just a summary. The result section gives the average age of the participants as 14.5 years and 73% (majority) of them constituted female teens (Batada & Chanda, 2006). Second, the empirical study explains the methodology employed clearly. To assess the teens’ perception of stress, the study used a mixed-method approach that included filling of questionnaires, social support network maps, pile-sort activities, and audio journals (Batada & Chanda, 2006). The popular article by Lewin, just reports researched work without telling us the details of how the results came. According to Lewin, the campus counselors view the results from the survey as evidence to students suffering from depression and undergoing psychiatric medication even before joining colleges (Lewin, 2011).

Third, the empirical work of Batada and Chanda is more detailed than the popular article by Lewin. The work by Batada and Chanda give an analysis of the results from the questionnaire, audio journal, pile-sorting activity and the personal network map. A majority of the teens clearly articulated school stress (Batada & Chanda, 2006). Quoting one of the participating teens, “High school is far much different from the middle school. Middle school was . . . it was not anything. Middle was not really anything. High school was a big thing for me, and I always thought that people ain’t going like me and I might going have to do this . . . I might going have to do that to fit in” Batada A., & Chanda A., get into a detailed analysis of the study.

Fourth, the empirical study focuses on a small group to analyze the psychological concept of stress. The results from a small sample suggest tentative future direction for researchers specifically with the urban African American teens (Batada & Chanda, 2006). The participating youth numbered twenty-six while in the popular article by Lewin the survey involved over 200,000 students joining colleges (Lewin, 2011). Thus, the empirical study is specific as compared to the popular article in ‘The New York Times’.

From the above comparison, a big difference exists between scholarly articles and popular articles in the newspapers. Scholarly articles give more details, which are very essential for cross-referencing. Again, scholarly articles are authoritative, up-to-date, and comprehensive sources of information (Solomon, 2007). Peer-reviewed articles as in the case of this paper a thorough scrutiny before publication. The scholarly sources are more factual than the popular articles and this makes them important sources in research work.

 

References

Batada, A. & Chandra, A. (2006).  Exploring stress and coping among urban African American adolescents: The Shifting the Lens study. Journal of Preventing Chronic Disease, V3(2). Available from: URL: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2006/apr/05_0174.htm

Carpenter S. & Huffman K. (2009). Visualizing Psychology. ( 2nd Edition). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Lewin T. (2011, January 26). Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen. The New York Times, A1. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/education/27colleges.html

Solomon J. D. (2007). The Role of Peer Review for Scholarly Journals in the Information Age. Journal of electronic publishing, Volume 10, Issue 1.

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