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The Relationship between Character Strengths and Perceived Stress in Students

Hölscher, Alexandra (2020) The Relationship between Character Strengths and Perceived Stress in Students.

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Abstract:Background. Stress is an ongoing and complex issue in our fast-paced society and is especially common among college students. This perceived stress can have tremendous consequences, such as getting cancer, burnout, and lowered well-being. To prevent these negative outcomes, positive psychology advanced progressively in promoting positive aspects, such as the individuals’ character strengths. In line with this, previous research emphasizes the effectiveness of strength-based interventions in terms of increasing knowledge and usage of character strengths, and well-being, as well as reducing levels of perceived stress. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between character strengths ‘love of learning’, ‘creativity’, ‘curiosity’, and ‘self-regulation’ with regard to perceived stress in students. Methods. To examine the relationship between these character strengths and perceived stress, correlation and regression analyses were conducted. In addition, a mediation analysis was conducted to evaluate whether ‘planning’ has a significant mediating effect on the relationship between self-regulation and perceived stress. A cross-sectional quantitative survey design was conducted using a convenience and snowball sample of 216 college students. Results. The results displayed that for the character strength love of learning the aspect of reading nonfiction books showed to be a significant positive predictor for students' perceived stress levels (B=1.07, p=.03), and for creativity, the aspect alternative (B=1.99, p=.001) and imaginative thinking (B=2.44, p=.001) showed to be significant predictors. For curiosity, interest showed a significant negative relation to perceived stress (B=-1.25, p=.04). Further, Self-regulation displayed various negative significant predictors for students’ perceived stress levels, namely physical activity (B=-1.22, p=.03), emotion control (B=-.97, p=.02), and efficient time management (B=-1.02, p=.03). The variable planning did not seem to have a significant mediating effect on the relationship between self-regulation and perceived stress. Conclusion. Concluding, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between the character strengths and perceived stress in students. Results display a significant correlation between the character strength self-regulation and perceived stress. However, no significant correlations were established for the character strengths curiosity, creativity, and love of learning with regard to perceived stress. Suggestions for future research are accounting for confounding variables, giving the option of a translated online survey, reviewing the usage of (sub-) scales, and incorporating face-to-face interaction or an introductory video in the online survey. Keywords: Perceived Stress, college students, character strengths, planning, love of learning, curiosity, creativity, self-regulation
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/81696
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