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Keywords:

  • stress;
  • education;
  • college student;
  • health;
  • sense of coherence;
  • relationships

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate college student stress, how students cope with stress, and how the stress of renegotiating self and relationships influences one's sense of coherence (SOC). A survey research design was utilized incorporating 596 college students. Using family stress theory, this study examined how stress associated with relationships, level of coping, physical and emotional reactions to stress, and quality of life can be integrated to predict SOC in male and female college students. Findings indicate that female college students experience greater stress from quality of friendships, love relationships and relationships with parents. Whereas emotional health had the greatest effect on SOC for females, family relationships had the greatest effect on SOC for males. Qualitative responses were also examined, providing insight into students' perceptions of stressors. Conclusions and implications for educators, researchers and family therapists are discussed. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.