I have recently submitted my research report in the area of Health Psychology, particularly enhancing stress coping skills among college students. I have developed an activity-based module to enhance students stress coping skills.
In order to prevent stress related problems it is necessary to improve the competencies of students, making them more able to cope with whatever difficulties life might bring. Some of the competencies that seem to relate to stress coping skills are 1) anticipate or detect potential stressors and identifying functional, dysfunctional coping; 2) taking responsibility for one’s behaviour and its outcome; 3) building satisfying relationship with others; 4) develop effective cognitive problem solving and decision making skills. According to proactive coping theory the individual is seen as striving for improvement, is capable of making things happen. Resource management is an important facet of proactive coping in that students can acknowledge and utilize information, advice, practical assistance and emotional support from others. Those students who are unskilled in these areas might experience and avoid stress. Training of these skills makes the students more competent and coping efficiency is maximized.
The first phase of training helps the students reconceptualize the nature of their stress and coping. This phase focuses on the reappraisal of the events using cognitive strategies to endure unavoidable everyday stressors. Students can be thought to take a non-catastrophizing, and viewing as a challenge rather than threat perspective when faced with stress. Thus, the replacement of unproductive thoughts and actions with coping strategies are important sets of skills. In the next phase, the students learn to use specific modified ways of coping skills. Contemplation about a variety of possible alternatives by comparing their possible outcome and its effectiveness, which include brainstorming, analyzing problems and resources, and generating hypothetical plan of action carried out in this phase. Role playing techniques used to promote smooth execution of the newly learned coping skills. The final phase involves the application of coping skills in a systematic way to every day stressful events. The generalization and maintenance of coping skills are encouraged by helping the students in each session. Throughout training, students are involved as a collaborator in developing, implementing and evaluating the variety of coping skills.
Figure -1 depicts some of the major components in the stress coping programme. This model somewhat simplified and provide a framework for understanding the components of enhancing proactive coping skills and self-efficacy.
Figure -1 Schematic diagram of the programme
The 3'A' model
Assume responsibility and
This training was conducted throughout the weekdays over a month. During each session, students were given relevant handout and worksheet to practice. Handout provides a tangible resource for them to consult between session and especially after training is completed. Worksheet helps the students gain insight into their own levels of stress and coping. This programme is based on primary prevention principle as they are aimed towards masses of students.
General Overview of the Sessions
The group members may bring up issues related to their day-to-day events such as upcoming exam, interview, projects, relationship problems or mastering a new task, recent failure and disappointment. Each session will introduce some new concepts, which include an exercise to be completed. The content of the session are as follows (Annexure -4, and 5),
1. Knowledge – theoretical input
2. Skills – teach specific skills
3. Practice – Role-play/ worksheets
4. Feedback and discussion
Although organization of the sessions must be structured, participants’ real life problem should not be ignored. Otherwise, they may view programme as irrelevant to their present needs. Participants bring their real life issues to their role-play and practice exercises. Role-play is a critical part of this programme and hence more time is allocated to it. Active participation, modeling and practice with corrective feedback are the most effective ways to modify and build self-efficacy and create long lasting behaviour change. Each session participants will be given relevant handouts. To encourage the participants to workout practice exercises outside the session, the researcher may announce some attractive gifts for the participants who fill the worksheet properly. At the end of each session, instruction regarding the practice exercises and instruction regarding the next session will be given.