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Causes and Effects of Stress on College Students

This article contains information on the Causes and Effects of Stress on College Students


Stress is not peculiar to specific categories of individuals. Even students experience stress too. Most students experience significant amounts of stress, and this can have a significant effect on their health and performance. Over the years, the increases in the rate of suicide cases amongst students have become so alarming and one would be left to wonder why?

Well, the answer is not far-fetched. Extreme cases of stress which wasn’t properly managed, is the cause of many suicide cases. It is only natural to question such actions since some of the victims are students whose parents provided adequately for. Well, it is important to understand that students have other things bothering them even when they are being adequately catered for.

Stay with me as we look at some of the causes of stress and its resultant effects on students.


There are numerous causes of stress for college students. Here are the common causes:

1. Academic Activities

It is expected of every student to perform well in school. Thus, in the bid to meet up with this expectation, many students gradually expose themselves to stress.

From attending to challenging academic courses, this includes long hour lectures, difficult assignments to other extracurricular activities. All of these expose a student to stress especially when the student has difficulty in organising work and poor time management.

When academic stress lingers overtime, it can result to academic disengagement and mental health problems.

2. Change in Environment

Not many students can cope easily with changes in the environment. Some students find it difficult to adapt in a new environment. This sometimes causes home-sickness in students.

3. Pressure of Working and Schooling

There are students who work alongside schooling. Many students do this inorder to cater for their academic needs. Combining schooling and working is usually not an easy task, regardless of how flexible the work is.

Only a few students can cope with working and schooling without struggling academically. When you’re not able to juggle both successfully, you tend to get stressed.

4. Dating

The moment a person is up to the age of attending college, the next possible thing on the minds of most individuals in this category is the thought of getting into a relationship.

Sometimes, this desire is as a result of peer pressure. Dating in college is not a taboo. The main reason college students are advised against going into any form of relationship with the opposite sex is due to the stress and distraction that comes with it.

Young people often experience breakups more in relationships. When this is the case, unnecessary stress sets in, this in many cases results to depression.

5. Poor Time Management

This is another factor that causes stress among college students. As a student, there will always be things to attend to, ranging from school work to extracurricular activities, down to meeting up with work, for those who are schooling and working, etc. It becomes difficult to balance all of these activities without proper time management, resulting in stress.

6. Insomnia

The importance of sleep is underrated. In a society where technology has advanced, with a lot of gadgets, students spend a lot of time on these gadgets when they ought to be sleeping. When you fail to rest and get some sleep as a student, it exposes your body to stress.

Good and adequate sleep allows for brain boosting without any stress.

7. Financial Stress

Naturally, students are spenders. Excluding the many financial demands in school, they always have things to spend on.  Not every student is so privileged to be catered for. Those who lack the necessary financial support, tend to worry more about raising money for their various needs. Doing this can be so stressful, especially, when there are outstanding debts already.

8. Traumatic Experiences

It is normal to dispute this especially if your understanding of stress is that which results in the weakness of the body. But then, extreme cases of stress go beyond the physical.

That being said, young people suffer great impacts when dealing with traumatic events such as death of a loved one, abuse of all kinds, accidents, etc. These experiences cause pain, fear and stress in students.


Generally, stress can affect many aspects of a student’s life, most of which are health-related behaviors like diet, sleep patterns, etc. All of these take a large toll on the productivity of the student.

Taking a look at the effect of stress on college students, below are the various ways and areas in which stress can have a drastic effect in a student’s life:

1. Physical Effects of Stress

These are the effects that are visible and can easily be spotted in the life of the student. In other words, these effects start to manifest themselves in external ways.

However, the physical effects of stress varies based on individuals, but then, the common physical effects include the following:

  • Migraine
  • Low energy levels
  • Shaking or sweating hands
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of weight and appetite

2. Psychological Effects of Stress

Stress may have numerous physical effects which may not have any cause for alarm. However, where the physical effect of stress is not checked, it may result in extreme cases. This time, it can manifest in more internal ways. The psychological effects of stress may not be easily detected like the physical.

This is why this is more dangerous. Sadly, it is the most common amongst students and the major contributor of the many suicide cases of youths, especially college students.

Some of the psychological effects of stress may include

  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration to studies
  • Anxiety
  • Incessant anger, hostility, frustration
  • Constant withdrawal from colleagues, etc.


Although stress has some positive sides, it is mostly associated with the negatives which is more rampant and calls for serious attention.

Various factors have been identified as the main causes of stress among students. Due to these causes, some students have become so frustrated in school and find it so hard to put up with school. Unfortunately, extreme cases of stress have led many students to drop out of school.

At one point or the other, students must encounter stress. This implies that stress is inevitable, although it can be managed with appropriate measures. In our next article, we will be considering effective ways college students can combat stress.

However, your friends and family are likely to notice when you’re been stressed. It is therefore important to listen to them when they make suggestive comments like “you’re losing weight, you look tired, etc.”

Paying attention helps you to be more aware of the triggers and how to overcome them.

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