Title of Work

Spirituality as a resource for coping with academic stress among college students.

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

October 2020

Conference Location



Context:Academic stress causes anxiety, distress, and fear, which are detrimental to students’ psychological well-being and mental health. Given the negative effects of academic stress on college students’ wellbeing, very little is currently known about the kinds of spiritual practices that can help college students manage academic-related stressors. Purpose:The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore if and how spirituality helps college students deal with academic stress and setbacks experienced in higher education.Methods: A sample of twenty-five students responded to open-ended semi-structured interview questions. Data were analyzed using Colaizzi’s phenomenological method. Results: Content analysis of twenty-five transcripts generated four major themes: the spiritual student, sources of meaning in life, academic goals and challenges, and coping strategies and benefits. Most of the students engage in spiritual coping practices to manage their academic struggles. These strategies ranged from prayer, self-reflection, yoga, meditation, listening to music, connecting with nature, loved ones, and a faith community. Conclusion:Spirituality is a good psychological resource for managing academic-related stressors and it plays a huge role in shaping students’ identity, values, and life purpose. Mental Health Policy Implication:Since spirituality is of paramount importance to college students who rely on their spiritual beliefs and practices to sustain them through academic hardships, it is critical that college administrators provide adequate spiritual resources to support and nurture students spiritual and mental wellbeing.

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