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ERIC Number: ED312453
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Pages: 23
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Stress and Stress Management in Contemporary Adult Education: A Commentary.
Kosbab, F. Paul
The stress felt by older students in higher education should be addressed by educators and members of the helping professions. The word stress is related to "distress" and perhaps best describes what substantial numbers of adult learners experience when returning to school. For instance, researchers have found graduate students to be particularly vulnerable to emotional maladies such as loneliness, severe anxiety, role confusion, and alienation. The following may be the causes or explanations of stress among older students: (1) biological reasons, such as less stamina, less resistance to fatigue, and serious health problems; (2) time-limited, speed-related performance tasks such as classroom tests; (3) having to memorize and recall specific factual data; (4) the threat to self-esteem represented by possible failure; and (5) the group dynamics within a classroom of younger students. Recent research by J. James seems to bear out Malcolm Knowles' contention that instructor behavior is probably the most important single variable in creating or avoiding stress in adult learning situations. Humor is an effective mediator of mild stress. A program at the University of Maryland helped provide graduate students with effective skills for dealing with stress. Jacobson's progressive relaxation method may be helpful, as may be the instructor's treatment of adult learners as intellectual equals and fellow "seekers of knowledge." (The document contains a 25-item bibliography.) (CML)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A