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Psychological distress and coping amongst higher education students: a mixed method enquiry

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dc.contributor.author Deasy, Christine
dc.contributor.author Coughlan, Barry
dc.contributor.author Pironom, Julie
dc.contributor.author Jourdan, Didier
dc.contributor.author Mannix McNamara, Patricia
dc.date.accessioned 2014-12-17T18:45:56Z
dc.date.available 2014-12-17T18:45:56Z
dc.date.issued 2014
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/4205
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description THE LINK TO THE DATA SET FOR THIS ARTICLE IS: http://hdl.handle.net/10344/4132
dc.description.abstract Background: Psychological distress among higher education students is of global concern. Students on programmes with practicum components such as nursing and teacher education are exposed to additional stressors which may further increase their risk for psychological distress. The ways in which these students cope with distress has potential consequences for their health and academic performance. An in-depth understanding of how nursing/midwifery and teacher education students experience psychological distress and coping is necessary to enable higher education providers to adequately support these students. Methods: This mixed method study was employed to establish self-reported psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire), coping processes (Ways of Coping Questionnaire) and lifestyle behaviour (Lifestyle Behaviour Questionnaire) of a total sample (n51557) of undergraduate nursing/midwifery and teacher education students in one university in Ireland. Individual interviews (n559) provided an in-depth understanding of students experiences of psychological distress and coping. Results: A significant percentage (41.9%) of respondents was psychologically distressed. The factors which contributed to their distress, included study, financial, living and social pressures. Students used varied coping strategies including seeking social support, problem solving and escape avoidance. The positive relationship between elevated psychological distress and escape avoidance behaviours including substance use (alcohol, tobacco and cannabis) and unhealthy diet is of particular concern. Statistically significant relationships were identified between ‘‘escape-avoidance’’ and gender, age, marital status, place of residence programme/year of study and lifestyle behaviours such as diet, substance use and physical inactivity. Conclusion: The paper adds to existing research by illuminating the psychological distress experienced by undergraduate nursing/midwifery and teacher education students. It also identifies their distress, maladaptive coping and the relationship to their lifestyle behaviours. The findings can inform strategies to minimise student distress and maladaptive coping during college and in future professional years. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries PLoS ONE;9 (12), e115913
dc.relation.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/4132
dc.subject psychological distress en_US
dc.subject higher education students en_US
dc.title Psychological distress and coping amongst higher education students: a mixed method enquiry en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0115193
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US
dc.internal.rssid 1576679


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