The objective of the study “academic stressors and symptoms of stress in the realization of the thesis” was to describe the relationship between stressors (factors that trigger stress) academic, stress symptoms and thesis realization in students of last semester (have not yet begun the thesis), thesis students (who are doing it) and graduates (who already finished it).
The idea was to know the main stressors that affect the participants when making the thesis, as well as the symptoms of stress that they present during the process.
The call was made through a question in our web community of 160 thousand members, and voluntarily wanted to participate 400 students; of which 382 responded to the online survey using the Google Forms tool.
The participants’ data were collected from March 31 to April 28, 2018.
Analysis of academic stressors
In the first place, the applied stressor questionnaire consists of 46 items that represent situations that could generate stress for the students when carrying out the thesis. The answer options ranged from 1 to 5 according to the level of stress that each situation caused to the participant, where 1 is nothing, 2 is something, 3 is little, 4 is enough and 5 is a lot. It is assumed that scores above 2 represent stress. Therefore, 4 and 5 are high levels of stress and 3 is a medium level. Thus, the main results of the study were the following.
Doing the thesis is a topic that generates a lot of anxiety among the student community, this could be evidenced in the study while all the stressors included in the scale obtained an average score above 2 (the scale goes from 1 to 5 and it is assumed that above 2 there is presence of stress); only 4 of the 46 stressors present an average below 3 (average level of stress), and 12 of 46 (about 27%) represents a high level for the participants. That is to say that the selected situations respond to events that truly cause stress to the thesis students.
The people who are developing the thesis (56.8%) selected as their main stressors: the preparation of the final document, the defense or defense of the thesis, the presence of plagiarism, when the jury disapproves of what the tutor had approved, the lack time, not find the necessary information, pressures to deliver corrections, present progress, analysis and discussion of results, meet the schedule, when the dates of progress, when their efforts are not enough to approve. And the ones that generate less stress are: making the slides of the lift and finding a partner.
The people who already finished the thesis (28.9%) chose as main stressors the following: receive the corrections of the tutor or advisor, receive the corrections of the evaluator or jury, the defense or defense of the thesis, when the delivery dates are approaching of the progress, the preparation of the final document, change the focus of the thesis on the recommendation of the tutor and when they press me to send the corrections, define the objectives according to the taste of the tutor, the analysis and discussion of results, the theoretical framework and the conclusions, correct the spelling, writing and grammar of my thesis, apply the standards APA, ICONTEC, Vancouver, etc. ; while the less frequent ones are finding a partner and making the slides.
Here there are differences with the people who are doing the thesis, this may be because when people are still in process have not addressed all the issues, and aspects such as applying the rules or correct spelling become a problem at the end of the thesis .
It is well known that the study focuses on those who are developing the thesis, however, for students who have not yet started the thesis (14.2%) the questionnaire was applied as a perception on the issues that most concern them when developing your project. At this point, they stated that the situations that could most generalize stress are those related to the advisor and jury, and plagiarism.
In addition to topics such as finding the research topic, not knowing if the topic is important or when the subject they want is not adapted to the research lines existing in the university, they are highly relevant stressors for these participants; given that they are in this process of defining their thesis topic. On the other hand, the ones that worry less are making the slides for the lift and finding a partner.
In summary, it was found that the most important stressors have to do with the relationship of the students with the tutor and the juries, as well as issues concerning the writing of the final thesis document and some of the parts that comprise it, as well as with the adjustments or corrections that must be made throughout the process.
It also draws attention that students consider as major sources of stress issues such as plagiarism in their document, compliance with the schedule and difficulty in finding information.
While the stressors that scored lower on the part of the participants were finding a thesis partner and making the slides of the support.
Analysis of stress symptoms
To complement the study, the symptoms of stress that could be presented by the thesis students during the performance of their degree work were analyzed, for this the Inventory of Stress Symptoms was used (Barraza & Gutiérrez, 2011).
This consists of 44 items, each representing a symptom, organized into three dimensions: physical symptoms (20 statements), psychological symptoms (16 statements) and behavioral symptoms (8 statements). The response scale goes from 1 to 4 where 1 is never, 2 is almost never, 3 sometimes and 4 almost always.
When analyzing the questionnaire, it is evident that the stress symptoms that most appear both among the students and graduates are physical symptoms such as pain in the neck or lower back, fatigue or chronic tiredness, muscle tension, pain head, sleep disorders and digestive problems (indigestion, diarrhea or constipation).
Followed by psychological ones such as excessive worry, difficulty concentrating, mental block, feeling of insecurity, catastrophic thinking (everything will go wrong), crisis of anxiety or anxiety, restlessness and nervousness, fear fear or panic. Participants rarely chose to suffer from behavioral symptoms, however they pointed out two of them: overeating or quitting and constant mood swings.
It is necessary to highlight that effectively doing the thesis is a stressful activity for the students, not only in what has to do with the construction of the document as such but in various related aspects such as the advisor or tutor, the juries, the information, etc. Stress that can even make them feel physical, psychological or behavioral symptoms.
Therefore, it is necessary to implement coping strategies that help the thesis students to make this process more bearable.
Consequently, if you identify with the results of this study, do not worry, at UVR we have dedicated and will continue to dedicate several entries to make recommendations on the subject, because our purpose is that you achieve your thesis in record time and with high quality. Here are some recommendations to alleviate the stress generated by the completion of the thesis, taking into account the stressors of higher score:
Relationship with the tutor or assessor and the juries: we recommend the entries how to avoid the corrections of the tutor, how to choose a good tutor, improve the relationship with him.
Plagiarism: we give you some strategies to avoid plagiarism in the thesis.
Compliance with the schedule: learn to build a schedule and a programmer that allows you to comply fully.
Preparation of the final document: prepare your thesis from the preliminary pages to the conclusion in a practical and quality way by reading our Thesis Manual.
Search for information: know 19 academic search engines to research everything you need about your thesis topic and learn these search tricks in Google to optimize your research work.
APA Standards, Vancouver, etc .; and spelling, writing and grammar: let us help you, we are experts in the subject.
Find the topic of research: these ideas will be of great help to select your thesis topic.