The Significance of Education in Experiencing Stress and Hope.
Mentor:Virgil Adams , Psychology Program Chair , California State University Channel Islands
Stress is a defining characteristic of today’s culture. It has been suggested that higher stress scores were significantly associated with lower hope scores. This study defines stress as: the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as significant and as having demands that exceed resources for coping. Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale was used to evaluate subjective estimates for managing global stress. Hope is defined as a pragmatic, goal-setting entity. Snyder’s Adult Dispositional Hope Scale has been established as a good predictor of success in various areas of life performance. According to Snyder, hope is a cognitive process in which people have a sense of agency (willpower) and pathways (waypower) for goals. Researchers found that the presence of hope influenced one’s ability to cope with stress. It was hypothesized that stress and hope are negatively correlated, in that elevated levels of stress would be associated with minimal amounts of hope. This is important because too much stress and/or too little hope may have deleterious effects. The present study examines the differences among those with high versus low stress pertaining to hope. It is based on survey results from a sample of adults in and around Southern California (n=923). Researchers examined how hope is affected by stress. Variables explaining hope were entered in two steps on the Hierarchical Regression Analysis, with hope as the dependent variable in both. In step 1, age, sex, education, marital status, and household income were the independent variables. In step 2, stress became the independent variable. Results indicated that education and age made significant unique contributions in the first step of the model. Interestingly, stress was also able to account for variance in hope beyond that attributable to variables in step 1 of the model. The discussion focuses on the influence stress has on hope.