Stress and Coping Strategies among Distance Education Students at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Christopher Yaw KWAAH

This study was designed to identify the causes of stress and coping strategies adopted among distance education students at the College of Distance Education in the University of Cape Coast. A total of 332 diploma and post-diploma final year students in 2014/2015 academic year were selected from two study centers using random sampling procedure to respond to self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire which was adapted to suit the study context was pre-tested to ensure that it elicited valid response. The results of the study showed that ‘academic workload’, ‘high frequency of examinations’, ‘financial problems’, family/marriage problems’ were the major causes of stress among the students. The study also found some statistical significant differences between married and unmarried students with married students feeling more stressed with ‘financial problems’ and ‘family/marriage problems’ than unmarried students. Students used multiple strategies, mainly praying/meditating, self-distracting activities such as watching TV and listening to music to cope with stress. Other important stress coping strategies were emotional and instrumental support from family, friends and lecturers. The study recommended among others that the need for the counseling unit at College of Distance Education of UCC to organize frequent stress management programs for students and assign academic counselors to students.

KEYWORDS: Stress, distance education students, causes of stress, stress coping strategies.

DOI : 10.17718/tojde.328942