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Running head: ANXIETY IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

Anxiety and Stress in College Students


Molly Anderson
Ferris State University
English 321
Professor Katherine Harris

Anxiety and Stress in College Students: A Bibliographic Essay


College students are weighed down by the pressures of stress each and every day, from
finances to class schedules to deciding what they want to do for the rest of their lives. The stress
and anxiety is abundant in college students lives and ultimately will not only affect them in the
present, but could also cause life-long distress.
My interest in this particular subject is due to my own personal issues with stress and
anxiety within the college lifestyle, and also life in general. Not only do I want to find a way to
work through and ultimately relieve stress, but I want to be able to give other students with
anxiety some helpful tips to start living a stress-free life. Ultimately, this is the purpose for the
research I have conducted.
My research began by using the FLITE library through Ferris State University. Wilson
Omni-File was the first database that I began using, but I did not totally get the swing of things
on my first attempt of using this database. I decided to then try out General Reference Center

ANXIETY IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

Gold where I was able to locate many different articles that matched my search. I chose this
particular database because it was one that I was quite familiar with and have had success with
locating research in the past. I used search terms that were broad, such as anxiety to more
detailed search terms such as the effects of stress and anxiety in college students. After finding
multiple articles from this database, I decided to back track and attempt to use Wilson Omni-File
again. This time I had much more success in finding articles that directly related to my topic,
and even took on some different interesting directions. One such article titled Classroom
Karaoke, spoke about helping students loosen up and be relieved from stress by performing
karaoke. Although, both of these databases were beneficial, I feel that I will still begin by using
General Reference Center Gold because I felt that I was able to find more articles that directly
related to my particular topic of anxiety in college students.
I have separated the general research conducted into three sub-topics, that better link the
articles found. They include the following:
1. Causes of anxiety and stress
2. Health risks of high anxiety
3. Tips to overcome stress and anxiety
I hope that the different articles used within this bibliographic essay will give a detailed
overview of the professional databases, websites, and articles that I have found on the areas
listed above, and will ultimately be used as a resource by many.
Causes of Anxiety and Stress
I thought it would first be beneficial to discuss some of the causes for anxiety and stress
within our lives. There are often many contributing factors to the stress we face in our day-today living, and it is important that we know what some of these things may be. Through General
Reference Center Gold I was able to find an article titled Two year students face more money
stress took a look at the effects of finances and the stress it has on college students. It discussed

ANXIETY IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

not only the stress on college students in general, but it also compared the effects between twoyear students and four-year students, and which category accumulated more stress due to money.
Often the reality of community college (two-year) students is that many of them have families to
support, among other stressors. The main situation in their life that stresses them though, is their
financial status. According to the article one in five two-year college students get so worried
about finances that they consider dropping out, while only 7% of four-year college students
experience this deep of stress. These two-year students also are not very good at handling loans,
since for many of them it is their first time handling large sums of money. At the end of the
article, the author shared some statistics that discussed the stress and abilities of handling
finances for community college students.
It is easy to see that not only does every college student suffer from the stress money
causes, but even more so to the students that have families and are struggling to take college
courses or are unknowledgeable about handling large sums of money.
The second article titled, Working and non-working university students: anxiety,
depression, and grade point average, also from General Reference Center Gold, discussed how
stress comes upon working and non-working students during their college years, and also how
their grade point average is affected by this stress. It was found in this article that although there
was no correlation between stress and working and non-working students grade point averages,
but it was clear those students that were working during school had much more stress and
anxiety than non-working students. Overall, the article was extremely informational and was
broken down into multiple sub-headings, in order to keep all the material in order. I found
though, that even with these sub-headings, it was still somewhat difficult to understand. In
particular, the information that had numerical results really seemed confusing. I would not

ANXIETY IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

suggest this article for a general audience, but for an audience that is truly willing to take a look
at these results and have some sort of educational background.
Health Risks of High Anxiety
Now that we have discussed some of the different causes of anxiety and stress, it is
crucial that we look at how this affects our health. Stress can have negative effects on us
mentally, physically, and emotionally. One article I looked at titled, Chronic worriers at greater
risk for PTSD, discussed how chronic worriers are at a greater risk for post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD). I also found this article through General Reference Center Gold, and although
it happens to be a shorter article, it gives a good basis of information for some health risks that
can accompany stress and anxiety. I found though, that many of the various article taken from
General Reference Center Gold had a good basis, but were overall too short to really take as full,
credible information. It was beneficial to find other articles to support these shorter articles that I
found interesting.
Another article retrieved from General Reference Center Gold titled, How you feel on
the inside could be effecting how you look on the outside, discusses how the stress and anxiety
does not just affect ones emotional state, but can even affect them physically. For example, how
stress can affect hair, nails, and skin. Hair starts thinning, skin becomes inflamed or nails
become brittle, which can be physical implications of ones mental state. These unwanted
physical changes can have even more negative effects on how one feels. Ultimately, this will
lead to people having more anxiety and stress, and furthermore increase the physical problems.
It is clear that this can become an extremely vicious cycle, and may not just only affect ones
mental or emotional health, but also their physical health.
The final article I found on this subject, dealt more specifically with women and stress
related to their job. High job stress linked with higher cardiovascular risks, discusses how
high job stress is actually linked with higher cardiovascular risks. Although the article was short,

ANXIETY IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

it gave a couple of statistics on the likelihood of women with a high stress job having a heart
attack, more so than women with low stress jobs. More research should be done before trusting
this short article and the information it contains. I do believe that its credible; it just needs a
little more substance to back it up. I wouldnt necessarily recommend it to someone who is
interested into finding research on this topic. It may be good starting point, or might spark an
idea, but there is not enough substance to truly make for a good source.
Tips to Overcome Stress and Anxiety
Now that we have looked at some causes and health effects of stress, it is important to
uncover some tips to overcome stress and anxiety. The first article I found titled Relaxation 101,
gives a few simple ways to help regulate stress levels. The first step described how one should
focus on their breathing; inhaling and exhaling. Not necessarily trying to control the breathing
cycle, but just being consciously aware of how exactly one is doing so. The idea of this
particular technique is to bring one into the present moment and into the immediate experience
of their body. The two other tips suggested by this article included attempting some progressive
relaxation and visualization. Progressive relaxation involves the flexing and relaxing of
individual muscles, and visualization is literally visualizing a perfect performance or specific
goal. It warns that visualization can actually cause some anxiety, and that this method can
periodically bring strong emotions to the surface. This sort of method can make some feel sad or
cry, but that can be an important part of the letting go process.
I would suggest this particular article to basically anyone who deals with stress and
anxiety on a daily basis. College students especially should take a look at this article. It is
important for those that deal with stress, as a college student does, should have a few tricks up
their sleeve when times really get difficult. Even just taking a moment to focus on ones
breathing can truly regulate the breathing process and help to relax oneself.

ANXIETY IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

The next article I looked at titled, Anxiety: when to worry what to do, discussed when
anxiety was necessary in everyday life, and how to cope with the anxiety that was negative. The
article was not what I expected it to be. It seemed that it was written more for people who are
actively in the health profession, and looking to seek out information on how to help their
patients. It did discuss some tips for helping these patients overcome their anxiety, and I believe
that they are some good steps to take for those that just have moderate stress in their day to day
lives. The article suggested that people start focusing on the phrases they use. For example, try
focusing on not being negative about each situation that arises. We must remind ourselves that
we cannot say for sure what is going to happen, and we must encourage ourselves that it is
something that we can cope with. We have to fight the urge to minimalize ourselves, and make a
giant out of our problems.
All in all, the article was very informative, but it wasnt exactly the type of article I was
looking for. I would definitely suggest it to anyone in the medical or health field, because
whether its a child getting stitches, or someone coming in for heart surgery; there is going to be
a lot of anxiety, and its important to be able to help patients put their best foot forward and feel
like they are still in control.
The final article that I came across titled, Humor at work, went along with the old
saying that Laughter is the best medicine. Unfortunately, this ended up being an extremely
short article that was basically a brief overview for a book that discussed the importance of
humor to relieve stress. I do believe that humor, portrayed in a proper manner, can really help
relieve stress and help those that live in stressful conditions main a better outlook on life. It is
important to be able to laugh and joke about things, in order to make light of a seemingly
daunting situation.
The overview for this book, although not extremely informative, is a good draw for
anyone that is interested in learning more about how humor can help relieve stress and make for

ANXIETY IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

a healthier lifestyle. I wouldnt necessarily recommend this article to anyone, unless they were
extremely interested and wanted to invest in searching for the actual book that is discussed in the
article. It definitely has a good theme, though and is something that I would recommend further
study on.
Conclusion
My purpose for this essay was to review some articles that cover the causes, health
effects and tips to overcome stress. I believe that my fulfilled my overall purpose, and that I
found some reliable information on stress and anxiety, particular pertaining to college students.
This bibliographic essay is a good basis for anyone who is interested in doing more research on
the particular topic of stress and anxiety, whether it is anxiety caused by college issues or just
everyday life situations. Both Wilson-Omni File and General Reference Center Gold are the
main two databases that I would suggest for anyone who is going to conduct further research on
the topic. Of course though, I would encourage anyone researching this topic to branch out and
seek out different databases, as well.

References
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