Stress and coping among grade twelve pupils: study at selected secondary schools in Lusaka, Zambia

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Namakando, Maboshe
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The University of Zambia
Studies carried out globally have shown that stress and coping in school children can have negative effects such as health related outcomes, poor academic performance and maladaptive behaviour if not well managed. However, there is no evidence of a study that has been conducted in Zambia to explore stress and coping among school children. Knowledge on stress and coping can help relevant stakeholders in Zambia towards designing ways of managing stress and coping among school children. The present study was aimed at exploring stress and coping strategies among grade twelve (12) Pupils in selected secondary schools in Lusaka, Zambia. A total sample of eighty (80) grade twelve pupils as girls and boys from Highland and New Northmead Secondary Schools in Lusaka had filled a questionnaire on stress and coping. The results indicated that pupils in this study experienced high stress levels. The independent sample t-test Results revealed that girls experienced more stress than boys. (t (78)= - 2.113, P= .038, P< .05) on the Academic Stress Scale Questionnaire and ( t (78)= -3.201, P= . 003, P< .05) on the Test Anxiety Inventory Questionnaire. The descriptive statistical analyses Results showed that pupils experienced stress from different sources as parental/guardian attitude/home situation, teachers „attitude, pupils „own judgments and examinations. Girls were found to have used more of the maladaptive and adaptive coping strategies than boys. (t (78)= -2.316, P= . 023, P< .05.) . Girls were found to have used more of the adaptive coping strategies than boys. (t (78)= -2.118, P= . 037, P< .05.) These results are similar in many ways to the results on stress and coping in other studies carried outside Zambia. If stress and coping issues are not investigated and managed in Zambia, they might continue contributing to negative effects in school children, in several ways such as health and behaviour problems and poor academic performance. There is need for more research and interventions on stress and coping among pupils by some various stakeholders in Zambia. Keywords: Stress, stressors, coping strategies and gender.
Stress--Pupils--Academic performance--Zambia