Date of Conferral
Research on North American and European students have reported moderate to severe levels of stress in more than 90% of students, which has been linked to negative health outcomes. However, there is a paucity of data on the stress of Caribbean students. Higher education in the Caribbean has undergone a transformation with wider access and higher enrollment; thus, it is important that the effects and characteristics of this transformation are researched and documented. Accordingly, the purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the experience of students in 2 year community colleges in the Caribbean. Using the theoretical foundation of Lazarus and Folkman's (1989) appraisal theory of stress, the research questions focused on the predictors of stress, socioeconomic differences in the levels of stress, and coping styles. The undergraduate stress questionnaire, the perceived stress scale, and the brief cope questionnaire assessed 150 students recruited through response to flyers posted on campuses. Data were analyzed using generalized linear model, ANOVA and MANOVA. Results indicated student status and marital status significantly predicted the stress level of students, but significant socioeconomic status differences in stress and coping styles did not. The research contributes to positive social change by helping to inform educators, administrators, and parents on the particular stressors students face, thus contributing to a better understanding of the phenomena of stress and coping among Caribbean students. It also broadens the body of research, extending it to populations outside of the North American and European contexts and providing valuable data for subsequent research.