For many college students, stress is a large part of life. While stress is a motivator, too much of it can result in dysfunction, including reduction in performance and the onset of health problems. Stress is one of the most treatable forms of illness, simply because there are a variety of treatments from which to choose. However, most colleges rely on clinical counseling as the sole means of handling stress for students, despite the fact that proper cognitive development is associated with "nurturing- environments at home, school and work, and that some people do not respond well to counseling (Johnson 34). It is important for college campuses to recognize the amount of stress experienced by college student experiences, and the need to provide alternative "nurturing- tools.
"Stress can be defined as an environmental force, either real or imagined, that interacts with an individual's tolerance and which has a motivational or stimulatory effect. If the stressor's force exceeds the individual's stress tolerance level it will have a derogatory effect upon the individual- (Bryson 303). Not all stress is negative, because it is also a motivator. However, excessive or persistent stress has unhealthy side effects. The area most visible indicator of stress is a change in performance. When any person's level of stress is exceeded "for prolonged periods it will cause breakdown, dysfunction and burnout- ("Automation- PG).
Stress cannot be measured in terms of class load or time, because much of what is known about stress is that it is based on an individual's perception of stressors affecting his or her life, and each student can view the same information as either positive or negative. In any case, when the student feels overwhelmed, it can have detrimental effects on performance and health. In studies on college students, "Maio-Esteves (1990) found that . . . when stress increased, problem-focused coping ability decreased while emotion-focused coping ability increased.