University of Twente Student Theses


The Relationship between unfinished tasks and perceived distress and the role of positive psychological capital in a student sample

Gütges, I.D. (2019) The Relationship between unfinished tasks and perceived distress and the role of positive psychological capital in a student sample.

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Abstract:Background: The experience of distress is especially prevalent in university students and has shown to be associated with several mental health problems that impact students’ well-being and academic success. Previous research has indicated stress-relating factors such as financial burdens or deprivation of sleep to promote the perception of stress. However, the role of unfinished tasks on perceived stress in students has not been investigated so far. The aim of this research was to explore the relationship between unfinished tasks and perceived stress in a student sample. Thereby, it was investigated what role positive psychological capital played in this relationship, more specifically whether it moderated or mediated this relationship. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey design was employed on a convenient sample of university students (N = 129). The survey consisted of demographic questions as well as the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), a questionnaire on unfinished tasks and the PsyCap questionnaire. To analyze the associations, Pearson correlations were conducted and the PROCESS macro of Preacher and Hayes was implemented to investigate possible moderation and mediation effects of positive psychological capital. Results: Results indicated that a higher level of unfinished tasks leads to a higher level of perceived distress for students (r = .45, p = .00). In addition, positive psychological capital partially mediated but not moderated this relationship. Conclusions: A feeling of having unfinished tasks for the week is moderately and positively related to perceived stress for students. In addition, the reduced personal resource of positive psychological capital seems to explain this relationship partially. The study extends knowledge on the impact of unfinished tasks and psychological capital in the organizational environment by generalizing it to higher education and gives practical implications for the development of positive interventions to help universities reduce study-related stress in their students. Key words Unfinished tasks, perceived stress, positive psychological capital, university students
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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