Variations in students' perceptions of stress and workload throughout a semester

E. D. Lindsay, H. Rogers

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


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, and this balancing act can be stressful. This paper presents data gathered from first year engineering students regarding their perceptions of their levels of stress and workload throughout a semester of study. Stress is investigated both as an absolute measure, and also as a measure relative to the students' perception of " normal ". These data show that there is considerable variation in the perceptions of the cohort. There is a proportion of the cohort that are always highly stressed; similarly there is a proportion that never find themselves stressed at all. More importantly, the data shows that while stress and workload are linked, they are not equivalent. Relative stress does not always match absolute stress-there are students who are very stressed, but for whom this is normal; similarly there are students who are only slightly stressed, but for whom this is an increase on their usual non-stressed state. Students reported levels of workload were more variable than the measures of stress, suggesting that the relationship between stress and workload is more complex than simply " more work equals more stress ".

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI 37th Annual Conference 2009
PublisherEuropean Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventSEFI 37th Annual Conference 2009 - Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 01 Jul 200904 Jul 2009


ConferenceSEFI 37th Annual Conference 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Variations in students' perceptions of stress and workload throughout a semester'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this