Stress, eustress and the National Student Survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim was to explore the relationship between sources of stress and a range of coping behaviours on student
satisfaction and motivation. Most research exploring sources of stress construes stress as distress, with little
attempt to consider positive, good stress or ‘eustress’ experiences. A cohort of first-year psychology students (N=88)
were surveyed on a range of stressors. These were amended from the UK National Student Survey (NSS, 2011).
Published university league tables draw heavily on student course satisfaction but study results suggest there was
also merit in measuring students’ intellectual motivation and the extent to which they felt part of a learning
community. Using multiple regression analyses, it was found that even the attributes that normally help one to adjust to change, such as self-efficacy, do little to help the new student adjust to university life, such was the acuteness of perceived stress in the first year. Social opportunities within the university were important to help new students integrate into university life and to help them network and build support. Educators need to consider how course experiences contribute, not just to potential distress but to potential eustress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology Teaching Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2015


  • student stress; eustress; coping; satisfaction; motivation; learning, transition.


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