Exploring Spirituality as a Possible Psychological and Social Resource for Coping with Academic Stress among Undergraduate Students at a Catholic University

Name of Award

Spring 2019 APDC Grant

Date Awarded



Public Health

Project Description

Sister Angela Ekwonye, Assistant Professor of Public Health, was awarded $7,500 from the APDC Grant to conduct a qualitative phenomenological study that will provide insight into how students utilize spirituality to cope with academic pressure and other challenges.

A recent study conducted by Drs. Ekwonye and Brueggemann found that 76% of St. Kate’s students (n = 667) in the College for Women (CfW) indicated that their spiritual beliefs are important to them. Over 70% reported their spirituality helps them find meaning in times of hardship, and a similar percentage of students indicated that it is important to them that the institution encourages their personal expression of spirituality (Ekwonye & Brueggemann, 2018).A different study using the same population of students found that spirituality, social integration, and peer connections were significantly associated with academic resiliency (Ekwonye & DeLauer, 2019). Findings of this study suggest that spirituality may be a potential psychological and social resource for dealing with life challenges, including academic stress among female college students. However, it is not clear how students employ their spiritual assets to deal with stress.

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