The relationship between first year engineering students' perceptions of workload and stress

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Engineering degree programs are notorious for placing considerable demands upon their students. Balancing study and work is a challenge faced by an increasing number of undergraduate students. There is an implicit assumption that an increase in workload results in more stress for the students; however a closer examination of the situation reveals greater complexity. This paper presents data gathered in a semester-long weekly survey of first year engineering students. Students were asked to rate their stress levels and workload relative to normal, and they were also asked to give an absolute rating for their stress levels. Their self-reported levels of workload and stress are compared to each other and to the number of hours reported for study and paid employment. This comparison shows that while in general workload and stress are indeed linked, there is a substantial proportion of the cohort for whom these factors appear to be independent. In particular the link between absolute stress and workload appears weaker, suggesting that the issue may not be the actual level of stress, but rather the students' perceptions of what constitutes a "normal" workload at a university level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009 - Palm Cove, QLD, Australia
Duration: 20 Jul 200923 Jul 2009

Conference

Conference2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009
CountryAustralia
CityPalm Cove, QLD
Period20/07/0923/07/09

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  • Cite this

    Lindsay, E. (2009). The relationship between first year engineering students' perceptions of workload and stress. In 2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009