Helping IB Students Handle Stress

Document Sample
Helping IB Students Handle Stress Powered By Docstoc
					   Melissa Giannamore
    Nancy Pomaranski
    School Counselors
Stonewall Jackson High
                School
       giannama@pwcs.edu
       pomransk@pwcs.edu
Acknowledgements:

 Presentation derived from research by:
 Shannon Suldo, Phd.
 Elizabeth Shaughnessy, Phd
 Assistant Professors, University of South Florida
Agenda
 Introduction and Background
 Comparison of stressors for IB and General Education
  students ; protective factors/stressors for IB students
 Results of Study on coping for IB students
 Effective and ineffective ways of coping with stress
 How we can help:
       Indirect Intervention
       Direct Intervention
Quick Write
1) What brought you to this workshop?

2) Think of an instance when you observed a school
  related stressful situation experienced by a student(s).
 a. Describe the situation
 b. What was the student’s response to the situation?


Note: You will not be required to share your thoughts
 aloud
How did they get started with
       this research?
 Background
 Most studies have relied on samples of at-risk youth
 The effect of stress in high-achieving children is
  understudied (IB students had not been previously
  studied)
 Lack of agreement among researchers regarding
  coping styles in adolescents
 The coping strategies of high-achieving children are
  unknown
Research questions
Are the demands of the IB program too
 much for students?
  Do they perceive more stress?
  Is their mental health affected?


  What is the best way for students to cope
  with stress?
        Are there unique ways that IB students cope with stress?
Major findings:
 IB students DID perceive higher levels of general and
  academic stress than general ed students
 IB students differed in what stressed them compared
  to Gen Ed students
 IB students were similar to students in general
  education in most areas of psychological well-being
  (for example, depression, aggression, global
  happiness)
 IB students reported slightly more symptoms of
  anxiety but did not have higher levels of depression or
  sleeping problems
Types of stress
 Medical Model: A state of distress in response to
  environmental factors that threatens homeostasis.
  Increased heart rate; elevated blood pressure; presence of
  hormones and neurotransmitters within the body.
  (Physiological response)
 Psychological Model: One’s cognitive appraisal of stressors
  and internal physiological responses to events.
  (Individual’s appraisal of situation and environment)
 Environmental Model: Stress external to organism and
  includes threat of immediate harm or aversive
  environmental conditions. (Environmental demand on
  individual)
Types of stress
 An alternative definition of stress is
   PERCEIVED STRESS

 Perceived stress involves the interaction
  between external, internal and cognitive stress
Perceived Stress
 Children and adolescents who report high levels of
 perceived stress are at high risk for negative outcomes:

   Psychopathology
   Substance abuse (self medicate)
   Academic underachievement (stop trying)
   Diminished life satisfaction
Sources of stress for high schoolers
 Major stressors for general education students:
   Parent/child relations
   Stressful life events (death in family, parental divorce)
   Peer relations, romantic relationships
   Family problems
   Academic struggles.
   DAY TO DAY STRESS OF SCHOOL (tests, grades,
      academic expectations) *One of greatest stressors
Where is this stress coming from?
                                                IB       General Ed

   5


   4


   3


   2


   1
         Academic    Parent Relations Extra-curricular   Academic    Conflict in   Peer Relations*   Stressful Life
       Requirements*      (nd)         Activities (nd)   Stuggles*    Family*                           Events*
Unique stressors for IB students
 Managing academic requirements-greatest stressor
 Challenging academic curriculum
 Extremely competitive situations
 Large amount of time spent after school hours working
  on homework, projects, research, studying for exams
  and community service
 Stressful lifestyle due to time constraints
   Majority of IB students in study felt time needed to
    complete requirements surpassed number of available
    study hours.
       Falling behind on assignments overwhelming
                 1
                       2
                           3
                               4
                                   5
     Large school
       projects

     Multiple
tests/assignments
due on same day

       Amount of
       homework

 Not enough time
                                       IB




 to get everything
       done


    Lack of sleep



Keeping up GPA
                                       General Ed




Own expectations



Too little free time
                                                    Stressors Related to Academic Requirements




   Pressure to do
    well on high-
    stakes tests
How are IB students handling
stress?
 Despite academic demands and higher levels of
 perceived stress, IB students do not appear to have
 impairments in academic or psychological functioning
   Have fewer symptoms of aggression, somatic problems, less
    externalization or delinquent behavior


 Experience lower stress levels than gen ed in other
 areas (parent relations, peer relations )
What’s working for IB students?
 Compared to general ed students:
    More satisfaction with school and self
    Higher levels of satisfaction with family, friends and
     neighborhoods
    Value school more (doing well in school a personal goal)
    Fewer behavior problems (fewer discipline referrals, less
     incidences of cheating or skipping, rarely tardy)
    Miss 60% less school
    Fewer suicidal thoughts
    Less delinquent behavior and/or delinquent friends
What’s working for IB students?
Protecting factors for IB students:
 Stress not always associated with poor academic
  outcomes; with IB, high levels of stress co-occur with
  high academic excellence (higher GPAs, fewer
  discipline referrals, fewer absences).
 Generally have positive relations with peers, possibly
  because they are learning with others with similar
  abilities and motivations
 Have increased social support from family and peers
What’s working for IB students?
 Experience high level of FLOW, defined as occurring
 when an activity has a balance between being
 challenging and appropriate for one’s skills (enjoyable
 but challenging)
   Flow may offset some of the negative effects of stress
Effects of stress?
 ***Study shows stress is not always associated with
 academic or mental health problems

 Result of research showed that participating in IB and
 AP programs was associated with healthy school and
 socio-emotional functioning despite increased stress
 that accompanies greater academic demands.

 Protection from stress comes from learning coping
 techniques.
                Major Findings
 None of the coping styles teenagers usually use were
  associated with less anxiety among IB students. Coping
  styles examined:
    Anger
    Negative avoidance
    Family communication
    Positive appraisal
 But, some coping styles were associated with worse
  functioning when used during times of stress
 Coping Styles that Change the Relationship
       Between Stress & Well-Being
                               ANGER
                               COPING


                                                            DEPRESSION
   STRESS                                                   & ANXIETY


Risk factor for increased depression and anxiety:
 As stress increases, students who frequently use anger coping strategies are
  more likely to experience depression and anxiety
 For the low anger coping group, stress was not as strongly related to
  depression and anxiety
Coping Styles that Change the Relationship
  Between Stress & Well-Being, cont’d
                            POSITIVE
                            APPRAISAL


                                                           LIFE
     STRESS                                                SATISFACTION


Risk factor for decreased happiness (life satisfaction):
  As stress increases, students who do not frequently use positive appraisal
   behaviors to cope experience sharper declines in happiness
  For the high positive appraisal coping group, stress was not as strongly related to
   life satisfaction
        Major Findings, Cont’d
 To find out what coping styles are related to well-
  being among IB students, the researchers had to
  create a new measure
 Focus groups
    Sources of stress
    Effective and ineffective coping strategies
Which Coping Strategies did Students THINK
           are MOST Helpful?


    Not      A Little   Moderately    Very
   Helpful   Helpful     Helpful     Helpful




      1          2          3          4
 Students Think …(Top 15 Coping
           Strategies)
Spend time with friends


Listen to music


Sleep or rest


Talk to close friends about what’s bothering you
Students Think…
Laugh, joke, make light of it

Take a day off of school (‘catch-up day’)

Focus and work hard to get the work done
Students Think…
Share (split-up) assignments with classmates



Plan (e.g., prioritize work, break work into smaller parts)




Adopt a positive attitude (focus on good things in life)
Students Think…
Take short breaks



 Be alone (e.g., shut self in room, read)



Take a bath or hot shower
Students Think…
Sports (e.g., basketball, soccer, football)



Remind self of future benefits of finishing school
   program (e.g., scholarships, desired college)
Which Coping Strategies did Students
THINK are LEAST Helpful?


     Not      A Little   Moderately    Very
    Helpful   Helpful     Helpful     Helpful




       1          2          3          4
Top Rated Least Effective
Strategies by students…
Obsess about workload (keep thinking about work)

Drink alcoholic beverages


Do drugs (e.g., smoke pot)
Students Think…
Talk to school advisor/counselor


Household and yard chores



Talk to a teacher you can trust
Students Think…
Physically explode (e.g., hit, fight, throw things)

Talk to a mentor about what’s bothering you

Get extra help for class (e.g., peer tutor)
Students Think…
 Deny or ignore feelings of stress



 Talk to older sibling who has handled similar situation


 Practice to do well on SOL, PSAT, SAT
Students Think…
Try to handle things on your own


Verbally explode (e.g., yell, scream, swear)



Take deep breaths
Coping Strategies the Research
    Shows are Effective and
  Ineffective (In Relation to
         Well-Being)
As Time and Task Management
Increases, Research Shows…
   INCREASES




               • Happiness
 DECREASES




               • Aggression   & Conduct Problems
As Positive Actions Increase,
     Research Shows …
  INCREASES




               • Happiness




              • Aggression   & Conduct Problems
DECREASES




              •Depression & Anxiety
As Attempting to Handle Problems
Alone Increases, Research Shows …
   INCREASES




               • Aggression   & Conduct Problems
               •Depression & Anxiety
 DECREASES




               • Happiness
As Avoiding Problems by Engaging in Solo
Activities Increases, Research Shows…
     INCREASES




                 • Aggression   & Conduct Problems
                 •Depression & Anxiety
   DECREASES




                 • Happiness
What’s Unrelated to Mental
Health? Research Shows…
 Seeking support from friends
 Avoiding problems through engaging in thoughtless
  activities
 Engaging in physical activities
 Reducing demands
Comparing Strategies that
Students Think are Helpful
with Those Strategies that
Research Shows are
Effective…
How to Deal with Stress
 Continue to use…
    Time and Task Management
     Strategies
         Focus and work hard to get the work done

         Share assignments with classmates

         Plan

         Take short breaks
How to Deal with Stress, cont’d
 Continue to use…
   Positive Thoughts and Actions
      Laugh, joke, make light of things


        Adopt a positive attitude


        Remind self of future benefits of finishing
         school program
How to Deal with Stress, Cont’d
 Reconsider the benefit of…
    Positive Actions
         Talk to older sibling who has handled similar
          situation



         Practice to do well on major tests (SOL, SAT, PSAT)
How to use these results to help
our students:
 Indirect Intervention (Psychoeducation)
 Direct Intervention
   Intervening during stressful times
How to use these results to help
our students:
 Indirect Intervention (Psychoeducation)
   1. Monitor student’s level of stress and frequently used
      coping strategies
   2. Educate students about harmful and helpful coping
      strategies
      -positive appraisal and time management vs. handling
      situation on own.
   3. Help students at-risk for continued maladaptive
      coping
At your school, how might you…
 Educate students about harmful and helpful
  coping strategies?
  -positive appraisal and time management vs. handling
  situation on own.
    Teacher Strategies Resulting from
   Research
 “To do” lists
 Reminders to have fun
 Laughter
 Group work
 Study groups
 Problem-solving time
 Review stress management when needed
Teacher Strategies Resulting from
Research (cont’d)
 Discuss as part of class orientation
 Have a syllabus!
 Post bulletin board
 Assignments to increase organization
 Team meetings by grade level/subject
 Flexibility with classroom assignments
    Work around other IB teachers’ due dates
 Counselors: handouts during junior class units
   and career units for underclassmen
How to use these results to help
our students:
Direct Intervention
   Intervening during stressful times
   Speak with student
   Hold frequent parent/teacher conferences
   Refer to guidance counselor
Examples of Direct Interventions:
Vignette Activity
 For each vignette:
   What do you think about student coping choices?
   How might you intervene?
   Continue script demonstrating positive teacher
    intervention
Final Thoughts
 Good resources on
  stress in adolescents
 Time Management
  Tips
 THANK YOU!