The lecturer handed around the questionnaire (see appendix) during class
time. The questionnaires were printed out and passed around. The participants
were informed about how long it takes, how participation was voluntary and
briefly the purpose behind the study. The participants were given a debrief
sheet with support contacts if the questionnaire created difficult feelings for
individuals. The questionnaires were collected and data from the questionnaires
were transferred from the paper record to electronic format, coded and stored
The overall design was a quantitative survey design. The first and third
hypothesis was a cross-sectional design. The second hypothesis was a
correlational research design. The independent variables were hours worked
outside college and extraversion. The dependent variables were perceived stress
and life satisfaction.
Personality Inventory: Gosling, S.D., Rentfrow, P.J., and Swann, W.B. (2003).
This measure is used to assess personality constructs. The Cronbach’s Alphas
were .68, .40, .50, .73, and .45 for Extraversion, Agreeableness,
Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability and Openness to Experience scales
respectively …” (Gosling et al. 2003). Participants demonstrate how much they
agree or disagree using a 7-point Likert scale from 1 (disagree strongly) to 7
(agree strongly), items such as “I see myself as: Extraverted, enthusiastic”.
stress scale; (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) measures the degree to
which situations in an individual’s life are stressful over the past month.
Items were created to discover how unpredictable and overwhelming participants
found their lives. The questions enquire about thoughts and feelings during the
last month and were asked how often they felt these thoughts and feelings
ranging from never (0) to very often (4). Items include: “in the last month,
how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal
problems?” The higher the score the greater amount of stress. Cohen et al.
(1983) found the PSS to provide better predictions of psychological symptoms
than measures of particular life events. Coefficient Alpha reliabilities for
the PSS range between .84 and .86.
The satisfaction with life scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffen,
1985) was used to measure overall life satisfaction of the participants. It is
comprised of a five item scale which includes items such as “I am satisfied
with my life”. The five item scale was created to measure cognitive judgments
of individual’s life satisfaction. The higher scores represent greater life
satisfaction. The internal consistency of the SWLS has been supported by
several studies were reliability scores of .80 was discovered (Pavot &
Paper and pen questionnaires (see appendix) were given out to each
Participants: A sample of
506 undergraduate psychology students from Dublin Business School were
recruited for the survey. Data was collected over 4 years. The minimum age was
18 and the maximum age was 86. There was 286 females and 214 males. Purposive
sampling was used. The mean for age is 33.20 and the standard deviation is 12.828. Students participated
and were recruited as part of class time.
first hypothesis is differences between the numbers of hours worked outside
college and levels of perceived stress. The second hypothesis is regression
analysis of stress and extraversion. The third hypothesis is differences
between hours worked and satisfaction with life.
one study, there was a significant correlation between the perceived stress and
life satisfaction, which indicates the higher the individual’s perceived stress
scores the more likely it will affect their life satisfaction (Reilly, 2014).
pervious study looked at stress in third level college students who had jobs
and those who did not which is what this current study is looking at. It found
the majority of students (55.72% who had jobs and 62.75% who had no jobs) were
stressed always or very often and a significant number of 7.03 % of students
who had jobs were more stressed than those without jobs (Donohoe, 2004).
study exploring ‘Extraversion and stress’ (Jackson, Schneider, 2014), stated it
seems reasonable that extraversion would affect stress outcomes through
stressor appraisals, because extraverts are thought to be more likely to attend
to the positive aspects of a stressor. However, quasi-experimental research
does not reveal a uniformly positive relationship of extraversion with
beneficial stress outcomes. Extraversion might facilitate an approach
orientation, which is more likely to be associated with particular strategies
for coping with stressors (Larsen & Ketelaar, 1991; Smits & Boeck,
research (McKee-Ryan, Song, Wanberg, & Kinicki, 2005) used different methods
than the current study by using theoretical models to organise the various
unemployment literature. This study found that individuals who were unemployed
had lower psychological and physical well-being than their employed
counterparts. Stress can impact on psychological well-being as mentioned in
this meta-analytic study. The current research adds a new perspective instead
of job loss, it looks at those not in work. Perhaps does job loss and not
having a job have similar impacts? From this information it is expected that we
will find lower levels of well-being and higher levels of stress among
unemployed individuals in comparison with employed individuals. The study
stated financial strain has an impact on well-being during unemployment.
unemployed can be seen as very stressful, as can college. Mixing the two
together creates a very interesting dynamic. The relationship between
unemployment and wellbeing (Clark & Oswald, 1994) (Knabe et al., 2010).
This literature presents confirmation that the negative impact of not having a
job on happiness cannot be totally explained by the negative consequence of
lack of income. It suggests that being in a job can be a source of being
useful, profitable, or beneficial. It is evident that working between 35-50
hours a week is linked with higher wellbeing for Australian men (Booth & Van
Ours, 2009). Life satisfaction is an evaluation of feelings and attitudes about
one’s life at a certain time either being negative or positive. It is one of
three indictors of wellbeing: life satisfaction, positive and negative effect
(Diener, 1984). Stress can be defined as a state of mental or emotional strain
resulting from demanding circumstances.
study explored the role of levels of stress, life satisfaction, with the
addition of extraversion and hours worked outside college and how these
results for this survey are that those who did not work had significantly
higher levels of stress than those who worked 31-40 hours outside college. This
may indicate possible financial worries. It clarifies how those that do work
outside college can balance college and work life or at least are not stressed about
it. The hypothesis was supported as there was a difference. There was a negative
association between stress and extraversion. The null was rejected. There
was no significant difference between hours worked and life satisfaction, which
contradicts the third hypothesis.
research found that the unemployed had lower psychological well-being than
their employed counterparts and financial strain had an impact on well-being
during unemployment (McKee-Ryan, Song, Wanberg, & Kinicki, 2005). The
current study discovered that those who did not work had significantly higher
levels of stress than those who worked many hours, indicating possible financial
worry. This could be evidence to support how students feel in college about
their friends being employed and may indicate why those unemployed are highly
stressed compared to those in work.
current study found a striking difference from Donohoe (2004) and could suggest
that the college has a better quality of support to offer students who are
stressed in comparison to that point in time.
current study found something different to Reilly (2014) that based
on the number of hours worked and satisfaction with life, there was no
significant difference. This may highlight that those working are satisfied
doing so and that those not working are satisfied to do this too.
limitation of the study was allowing psychology students to participant, as they
may have been familiar with psychological concepts within the survey. The
survey was only distributed in DBS, there may be more stress levels in a
private college as there is greater fees and no grants available. Extraneous
variables not addressed in the research may have influenced specific findings.
Stress questions were not asked in relation to college stress and therefore
could be stress in general or outside sources such as family. Future research
could be more specific that it is college stress.
is some evident strengths in this study. There was good control as the survey
was given out during class time in college and therefore it ensured everyone
was a student. There was a large sample size of 506 and a good age range of
18-86. The making use of questionnaires as a method of data collection gives an
advantage over others, as it is less time consuming, offer anonymity and less
chance for bias caused by the presence of an interviewer or experimenter
is important for policy-makers and colleges to address the problems faced by
individuals stressed while not working outside college and the financial strain
this creates. It is important to make sure these individuals are given the
skills and knowledge to cope with life stressors. This study can only add to
pervious findings and improve knowledge. Future research should look at grades
and hours worked to see if academic performance is any different in people who
are working outside college compared to not working.
conclude it is evident from the findings that college life can be very stressful
for some people. There can be financial worries involved in putting yourself
through education. However, for others it is not stressful to be balancing work
life with college life and this may be due to individual differences which one
must always expect in psychology. By colleges becoming more aware of the
importance of coping strategies they can help reduce stress and increase life