Comparison Of Psychological Stresses Imposed On School Students In China

Por: Hao Xuanming e Wan Wenjun.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Psychological stress has been one fatal killer to human health with social advancement. And from etiology,  it has been known  to be one of the most important risk factors of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and  cancers.  Although these diseases predominantly occur in middle and old age , they originate in adolescence, even childhood.  Thus, this study tries to investigate  the profile of stress imposed on the school students in China, and to compare the difference among intensity, sources and reaction, and to provide some suggestions to manage students’ stress.


A self-report questionnaire was adopted to investigate stress intensity, main sources and distribution, and reactive intensity to stress, etc. 1351 students, randomly selected, served as the subjects. They came from 24 classes of 12 grades of 8 schools, including 2 primary schools  (4 classes of last two grades ), 2 junior high schools (6 classes of 3 grades), 2 high schools (6 classes of 3 grades) and 2 universities (8 classes of 4 grades).


1. Comparison of stress intensity: The lowest stress occurred in the students of primary school (24.1%), the highest in high school (50%), while 40% in university.  The percentage of students with suicide thought was surprising:  25.67% of primary school students, 52.40% of junior high school, 52.44% of high schools and 45.13% of university. 2. Comparison of stress sources: "Stress from test" is a common stress. "Parental expectation" was dominant to students of primary and secondary schools (61.54%), but it was "social and economic status" for collegiate students. The highest "economic stress" was  "Lower income and higher cost".  Students of lower grades concerned more about  "relationship with teachers and classmates" and "evaluation from others", while undergraduate more about " social status"(60.55%). For "future",  Students of lower grades  paid most attention to "admission to higher school" while undergraduates to  "employment and better income after graduation".  3. Comparison of reaction to stress:  (1) Overload: Only 13% students of primary school felt so, but it rose to about 40% of secondary school and university. (2) Frustrated: only 10.76% of primary school, and rose to about 30% of secondary school and university. (3) Pessimistic: only 7.37% of primary school, 23.7% of junior high school, 30.25% for high school, and further rose to 36.4% of university. (4) Behavioral pattern: only 15.11%of primary school, 25.48% of junior high school, 29.15% for high school, and rose to 32.71%of university. (5) Need to manage stress: 86.59% of primary school, 73.57% of junior high school, 64.85% of high school and 67.71% of  university.


(1)The school students in China are suffering from higher stress, however, the stress intensity imposed is different from each other,  the students of secondary school are under highest stress.( 2). Main stresses could transferred with increasing grade, while stress "from test" serves as a common stress. (3) In general, the students’ reaction to stress imposed showed significant difference, and their reactive intensity rose with grade increasing, however, the need  "to manage stress" decreased with grades increasing, and this may be related to growing age and more social experience. (4) It is imperative for educators and education authorities to take active measures to manage students’ stress.    


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[2]. Milin R, Walker S, Chow J (2003). Major depressive disorder in adolescence, Can J Psychiatry, 48(9): 600-6.

[3]. Glenister D (1996). Exercise and mental health: a review, J R Soc Health, 116(1): 7-13.


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