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International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology
January 2013, Volume 2 Number 1, 43-52

Parents/teachers and self-expectations as sources of
academic stress
Calaguas, Glenn M.
Pampanga Agricultural College, Philippines ([email protected]) Received: 15 June 2012
Available Online: 4 August 2012

Revised: 20 July 2012
DOI: 10.5861/ijrsp.2012.136

Accepted: 30 July 2012

ISSN: 2243-7681
Online ISSN: 2243-769X

This study investigated expectations as sources of academic stress specifically among college freshmen. A total of 597 college freshmen enrolled in a state college in the Philippines during the First Semester of School Year 2011-2012 were asked to respond to the Academic Expectations Stress Inventory (AESI). AESI is a nine-item inventory with two domains: expectations of parents/teachers and expectations of self. This study specifically dealt on the responses to expectations as sources of academic stress and whether male and female college freshmen differed with reference to perceived parents/teachers’ expectations, self-expectations, and academic expectations in general. Statistical analyses revealed that the means of responses of the college freshmen to the items in the AESI ranged from 3.091 to 3.746 with 1 as the minimum and 5 as the maximum response in every item. Also, male and female college freshmen significantly differed in perceived parents/teachers’ expectations, self-expectations, and academic expectations in general.

Keywords: academic stress; college freshmen; expectations; gender differences; state college

© The Author / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND

Calaguas, G. M.

Parents/teachers and self-expectations as sources of academic stress



Pursuing college education is the dream of everyone. This is because a college degree is often associated with success later in life. However, attending college is not easy especially when there are so many possible hindrances associated with it. Most vulnerable to such hindrances are college freshmen because the first year in college requires many transitions like adjustments that must be successfully passed. Aside from actual adjustments being experienced by college freshmen, other factors may hinder their bid to get a college degree and expectations either by others (parents/teachers) or by oneself that is academically-relevant and causes stress can be one of them.

The investigation of expectations as source of academic stress among college freshmen is a meaningful undertaking especially when stress is recognized to affect students’ well-being and success in college. As a matter of fact, several studies have already documented the effects of stress on students (e.g. Agolla & Ongori, 2009; Hussain, Kumar, & Husain, 2008; Masih & Gulrez, 2006; Shaikh et al., 2004; Sulaiman, Hassan, Sapian, & Abdullah, 2009). Emotional disabilities, aggressive behavior, shyness, social phobia, and often lack interest in otherwise enjoyable activities are the most common signs of stress (Hussain et al., 2008). Moreover, basing on empirical evidence, Ang and Huan (2006b) identified that “academic stress and in particular, academic expectations, is a factor contributing to suicidal ideation in adolescents” (p. 134) although said authors later found that adolescent depression “partially mediate the relationship between academic stress and suicidal ideation in a four-step sequential process, via the use of multiple regression” (p. 141). In the end, as Li and Yen (1998) believed, “screening for high risk students and launching programs and activity for counseling the adolescents or parents is essential” (p. 240). Conducting a study that focuses on expectations as sources of academic stress among college freshmen can be a good start. The results generated from this study aside from contributing to the pool of knowledge regarding expectations as source of academic stress can also serve as bases for instituting interventions where they are needed the most. Instituting interventions is necessary especially when it is aimed at helping college freshmen make the most out of college education.


Literature review

2.1 Defining stress
What exactly is stress? “Stress is a lifestyle crisis” (Masih & Gulrez, 2006, p. 97) and can be “any factor, acting internally or externally, which makes adaptation to environment difficult and which induces increased effort on the part of the individual to maintain a state of equilibrium between himself and herself and the external environment” (Humphrey, Yow, & Bowden, 2000, p. 2-3). Moreover, “stress is a peculiar problem in that no one can consistently predict the amount or kind of stress that can turn an otherwise normal, positive human situation into one involving an unpredictable, irrational response” (Neil, 1994, p. 2). Specifically, “in eastern philosophies, stress is considered to be an absence of inner peace” (Seaward, 2008, p. 4). Given such descriptions, stress is indeed a critical concern.

2.2 Academic stress
Everyone is bombarded with everyday stresses. It affects every aspect of life. Going to school is included because of the pressures associated with it. Generally speaking, “in school, adolescents often see themselves as 44

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Parents/teachers and self-expectations as sources of academic stress being evaluated in terms of their academic performance and the pressure to excel is an important measure of their success” (Ang & Huan, 2006b, p. 134). Academic stress adversely affects overall adjustment of students (Hussain et al., 2008) and one form of academic stress that merits attention is the one arising from expectations. 2.3 Expectations as sources of academic stress

“In an Asian context, academic stress arising from adolescents’ self-expectations and expectations of others (e.g. parents and teachers) are particularly salient” (Ang & Huan, 2006b, p. 134). Such claim by Ang and Huan in 2006 was parallel with the findings of the study conducted by Goyette and Yu (1997) in the United States of America. The researchers found that “parental expectations play an important role in explaining the Asian-white gap for all ethnic groups and stand out as the only explanatory factor accounting for Southeast Asian students’ relatively high expectations” (p. 16). Also, Asakawa and Csikszentmihalyi (1998) found in their research that “Asian American adolescents’ academic motivation and future goals were strongly affected by their special feelings toward their parent” (p. 141).

Additionally, Goyette and Yu (1998) found in another study that “Asians are indeed more likely t...

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