Academic Stress: Definition & Scale

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  • 0:01 Student Academic Stress Scale
  • 1:27 Interpreting the Results
  • 2:41 Additional Measurements
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Have you ever felt stressed when taking college classes? This lesson is about a test that can accurately measure the stress level of an individual. When many students take this same test, group and institutional comparisons are also possible.

Student Academic Stress Scale

Bao Long and his wife An have saved up for many years to be able to send their oldest son, Wei, to a university in the United States. They are very proud of their son and have great hopes for his future.

Wei, on the other hand, feels a great deal of worry about his future because he's having difficulty in this new setting. He has studied English for many years, so the language is not causing him a great deal of stress, but other things are. New places, meeting so many people (none of them from his home country), the new routines here, and of course the difficulty of taking all his classes in a non-native language are proving to be quite challenging. Wei would never share this with his parents, who have sacrificed so much for him to be here. When he hears about a test to measure his stress, he decides to take it.

The Student Academic Stress Scale (SASS) is a test devised by researchers to measure academic stress in university students. To take the SASS, a survey participant rates a series of 40 statements on how much stress they experience from that particular item. Since each statement is rated on a five-part scale, the possible ranges for this survey are 40-200. A student scoring 40 on the SASS would be experiencing low levels of stress, while a student scoring 200 would be experiencing a great deal of stress.

Interpreting the Results

Wei gets the results of the SASS almost immediately and goes over them with the proctor. The results were in a table form and separated into two categories: the group and the average score. According to the results, the group that included all of the students at Wei's college produced an average stress score of 110.6. The group that included all foreign exchange students at Wei's college produced an average stress score of 130.7. Finally, Wei alone produced an average test score of 123.5. 'These results are certainly enlightening,' the proctor tells him.

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