Stress appraisal and coping strategies as a function of academic achievement among community college students

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Educators long ago recognized that a variety of factors contribute to academic success. High school grades, college entrance scores, personal motivation, and self esteem are among the traditional indicators or factors commonly identified with academic success. As community colleges open the doors of higher education to ever expanding segments of the population, the need for knowledge of the myriad factors contributing to academic success increases. The purpose of this study was to address a portion of that need via the examination of stress appraisal and coping strategies among community college students.

The framework for the research in this study follows a process-centered theory of stress and coping developed by Folkman and Lazarus (1985). Specifically, this study was an exploration of how stress and coping strategies change over time and what relationship that change may have to academic achievement.

Data for the study was collected from Virginia community college students currently enrolled in math classes. Students in these classes completed three stress and coping instruments centered around the focal point of their first major math test. Course grades served as a measure of academic achievement for comparison to stress and coping scores. Comparisons were also made among the student variables of age, gender, and level of academic preparedness.