Conference presentation from Stlhe2013 in Cape Breton

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  • National-> Mental Health Commission of Canada- one of the first national mental health strategies Mental illness and academic stress in higher education is receiving growing awareness in the research community due to its increasing prevalence and negative effects on students -existing literature-> stigmatization, availability of support, skepticism regarding treatment effectiveness, and a lack of perceived urgency March 2013->27$ million in funding-> one project involves developing a province-wide peer mentoring program for students with mental health -staff training in mental health first aid at Laurentian -partnership with Kids Help Phone- 24-hour phone line for postsecondary students -Queen’s-> addressing stigma on campuses and ensuring support is more feasible for students -Principal’s commission on mental health-> releases comprehensive mental health strategy
  • -research that examines well-being, stress, and mental health in university students is often generalized to the undergraduate postsecondary student population -some look at specific vocations-> medical students, law students, nursing students PRESERVICE TEACHER STRESS -many studies look at teacher stress during field placements or practica -few studies examine the experiences of students who had completed a teacher-training program as a whole, which included coursework in addition to practicum placements -this study focused on teacher-training program in general GRADUATE STUDENT STRESS -specific fields: counselling, psychology, and nursing
  • What are causes of their academic stress and how does it affect their academics and overall university experience? How might this have changed throughout their postsecondary experience? 2. Where do they seek help from and what factors affect their willingness to seek help? 3. What factors affect their willingness to use the internet for such support and would they be willing to use a form of e-mental health? -mid semester of the 2012-2013 academic year Site: midsize university in Southern Ontario Instrumentation Qualitative Online, self-report questionnaire Anonymous Data analysis: coded and grouped in order to determine common or significant categories/themes
  • -some took responsibility for their lack of time management-> procrastination Quantity of work: “In the upcoming month I have something due almost every day” Deadlines: “multiple assignments due at the same time” Balancing different kinds of stress Stress increasing as responsibilities increase Negative affect on relationships-> no family time, no life outside of school
  • EXPECTATIONS Personal-> own need for high achievement so they can be successful in their programs; comparison with others Unclear Expectations – entering a program that is not clearly outlined, uncertainties regarding requirements in program, shifting due dates
  • Assignments -assignments that don’t appeal to learning style -weight of assignments -difficulty level-> unsure of how to start
  • Overwhelmed-> teacher education data Under pressure-> graduate student data Anxiety -being worried, nervous, confused, anxious, irritable, frustrated
  • Talk about overlap between categories -breakdown that includes emotional and physical responses Sleeping Pattern -stay up late to complete work -had difficulty sleeping-> insomnia -consequently feel physically tired and fatigued OTHER responses Headaches, tension in muscles,
  • -physical activity Friends/classmates-> most frequently reported source of support
  • Professor- main source of academic support
  • Accessibility->>>>> time
  • Almost half of participants said they used the internet to find information about or support for stress
  • Conference presentation from Stlhe2013 in Cape Breton

    1. 1. Kathleen Moore, Brock University STLHE Conference, 2013
    2. 2.  National: ‘Changing Directions, Changing Lives’ (2012)  Provincial: ‘Open Minds, Healthy Minds: Ontario’s Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy’ (2011)  Postsecondary Level ◦ Queen’s University’s Anti-Stigma Research Chair (2012) ◦ Ontario Government announced $27 million funding over the next three years to address mental health concerns on various campuses (March, 2013) ◦ Most students fall into the highest risk age (15-24) for mental illness
    3. 3.  Stress in higher education ◦ (Abouserie, 1994; Gadzella, 1994; Kohn & Frazer, 1986; Ross, Niebling & Heckert, 1999)  Teacher education student stress  Master of Education graduate student stress  E-mental health ◦ “mental and behavioural health promotion, prevention, treatment and management-oriented interventions that are delivered via the internet or other electronic technologies” (Klein, 2010, p. 20)
    4. 4. 1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize academic stress? 1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize help-seeking for academic stress? 1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students use the Internet to seek information about or support for academic stress?
    5. 5. Causes  Time management (quantity of work, deadlines, and balancing responsibilities) ◦ Quantity: “In the upcoming month I have something due almost every day” ◦ Balancing responsibilities <-> Finances and Employment  “Lack of financial support- I am a single mother with no income. I will be using a food bank soon” “Feeling like I'm underwater. When it's not so bad, I'm still working hard to stay above the sometimes choppy waters. But when things pile up, I feel like I'm trying to hold onto that last gulp of air while being held just under the surface. It means that no matter how hard I try, I just can't do everything and then I feel like I'm constantly RQ1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize academic stress?
    6. 6.  Expectations “Fear of failure in academics, resulting in a fear of failing in life” Personal expectations Expectations from other sources a) high expectations “I am in concurrent education/teachers college. We have stress not because we have high expectations for ourselves. We HAVE to do well” “threats from the program and professors that I would be kicked out if I didn’t have a certain level of achievement” b) unclear expectations RQ1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize academic stress? Cont’d
    7. 7.  Course Components  Assignments, exams, addition of online components “Learning to use the new programs/forums on top of familiarizing myself with the course content is very stressful”  Transitions “A feeling of being lost, especially at the beginning of the year, when trying to familiarize yourself with new teachers, new schedule, new places, and new online networks”  Support “no support at school, work, or home” “doing poorly on assignments with little feedback to improve is a cause of stress” RQ1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize academic stress? Cont’d
    8. 8. Responses  Emotional Inadequacy/hopelessness “feeling like I don’t belong because I don’t know what I’m doing” “feeling like I am constantly underachieving” Being overwhelmed/under pressure “feeling that you will never get it done” “when school weighs heavy on your shoulders” Anxiety “thoughts circle endlessly” “constant thought on success or failure” RQ1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize academic stress? Cont’d
    9. 9.  Physical Responses Changes in sleeping pattern Staying up late to complete work or unable to sleep Changes in eating pattern Overeat or unable to eat Concentration “decreased focus in seminars and lectures” RQ1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize academic stress? Cont’d
    10. 10.  Behavioural Responses “person begins acting in ways that are not ‘typical’” Difficulty making progress on academic work Procrastinating/prioritizing Unprepared for class/increased absenteeism Verbal expression of stress Strain in social and family life RQ1. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize academic stress? Cont’d
    11. 11.  Emotional Aspect “Personally recognizing that there is an issue to address” “That I cannot handle the stress. To me ‘seeking help’ is looking for a way out. Tears will only get you sympathy. Sweat will get you results”  Behavioural Aspect ◦ Individual behavioural coping strategies ◦ Support from personal network  Friends/classmates  Family/significant other RQ2. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize help-seeking for academic stress?
    12. 12.  Academic support ◦ Professors ◦ Teaching assistant ◦ Administrators “to approach a professor one must be very frustrated or desperate”  Professional support ◦ Psychologist, counsellor, therapist ◦ health services, family doctor “I have only sought help from a professional as a desperate last resort” RQ2. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize help-seeking for academic stress? Cont’d
    13. 13. RQ2. How do teacher education and Master of Education students conceptualize help-seeking for academic stress? Cont’d
    14. 14.  E-counselling  Factors affecting willingness to use e-counselling ◦ Addresses social-emotional concerns and stigma ◦ Accessibility ◦ Anonymity/confidentiality  Deterrents affecting use of e-counselling ◦ Use of personal coping skills ◦ Face-to-face support/support from closer connections ◦ Time constraints RQ3. How do teacher education and Master of Education students use the Internet to seek information about or support for academic stress? Con’t
    15. 15.  Use of the Internet ◦ “I used search engines to look up resources and clinics” ◦ “I have looked up information regarding stress and feelings of distress and how to deal with it as well as why it might be happening” ◦ “I have used Google in the past to look up this information, but it gets intimidating with all the blogs, chat rooms, and online support systems” RQ3. How do teacher education and Master of Education students use the Internet to seek information about or support for academic stress?
    16. 16.  Academic/professional support often only sought as a desperate last resort. How do postsecondary institutions ensure students seek support prior to it becoming distress? What role do faculty members, administrators, teaching assistants etc. have in this? ◦ UBC implementing Early Alert Program; Queen’s University using the ‘Green Folder’ initiative  Friends/classmates are often the first source of informal support, subsequently followed by family. Are students equipped to effectively help their peers who may be in distress? Are family members informed about services on campuses?  Use of e-mental health in postsecondary environments?
    17. 17.  How do teacher education programs and Master of Education programs teach the ‘whole’ student?  Are postsecondary learning environments adequately fostering a community of inclusivity for faculty of education students experiencing stress-related issues?  How can we create institutions that are more responsive and adaptive to the increasingly prevalent mental health and well-being issues?  What role do postsecondary institutions and the community members within them have in developing and sustaining healthy postsecondary communities?
    18. 18. Abouserie, R. (1994). Sources and levels of stress in relation to locus of control and self esteem in university students. Educational Psychology, 14(3), 323-330. doi:10.1080/0144341940140306 Gadzella, B. M. (1994) Student-Life stress inventory: Identification of and reactions to stressors. Psychological Reports, 74(2), 395-402. doi:10.2466/pr0.1994.74.2.395 Klein, B. (2010). E-Interventions and psychology: Time to log on! InPsych: The Bulletin of the Australian Psychological Society, 32(1), 20-22. Retrieved from http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/ Kohn, J. P., & Frazer, G. H. (1986). An academic stress scale: Identification and rated importance of academic stressors. Psychological Reports, 59(2), 415-426. doi:10.2466/pr0.1986.59.2.415 Ross, S. E., Niebling, B. C., & Heckert, T. M. (1999). Sources of stress among college students. College Student Journal, 33(2), 312-317.

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