The Assessment of Perceived Stress during Lock-down Due to
COVID 19 among Students
M. Monica
, Chaitra V. H.
and G. Ramanaiah
Department of MBA, Acharya Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, India
Department of PG, Presidency University, Bengaluru, India
Amity Business School, Faculty of Management Studies & Behavioural Sciences, Amity University, Haryana, India
Keywords: Perceived Stress, PSQ, COVID 19, Higher education in India, Gender.
Abstract: The international epidemic COVID 19 is the concern for public and poses many psychological challenges.
The research data are required to tackle the adverse effect due to COVID 19 during lockdown situation. The
crisis has affected the entire world, which has increased the stress levels amongst the students, employees,
corporate managements, traders, farmers etc. All the citizens are facing different problems due to COVID 19
and lockdown. The study is specifically focused on students and main aim of the study is to assess the
Perceived Stress amongst students of higher education in India. The 30-Item Perceived Stress Questionnaire
(PSQ) along with questions on demographics was used to gather the data from the respondents. The online
survey was conducted using Snowball Sampling technique due to lockdown condition in India. The study
included 280 respondents from major cities in India. The result concludes that the perceived stress during
lockdown due to COVID 19 ranges from moderate to high amongst these participants surveyed. The perceived
stress does not vary with gender of respondents, but the perceived stress varies with age of the respondents.
The major reasons identified using Friedman test are irritation, feeling agitated etc.
Perceived Stress is the thoughts or feelings that
individual has about how much stress they are under
at a given point of time. “The Perceived Stress is the
degree to which situations is one’s life are appraised
as stressful”.
The students pursing higher education
experienced the stress during lockdown due to
COVID 19, the various factors contribute to the
perceived stress are online examinations, practical
examinations, online lecture series, lack of social
interaction, academics, performance in test and
exams, future uncertainties.
Perceived stress amongst these students who
develop the uncontrollable and unpredictable life
situation that often leads to frustrations, irritations
and hinders the confidence level while dealing with
those difficulties and uncertainties. The perceived
stress is the individual feelings developed when they
face stressful situation and suffer negative life events.
The perceived stress is not just understanding the
stressful life experiences but also assessing the degree
to which life events are more stressful during such
Financial constraint and pressure to maintain a
lifestyle, manage the expenses at student level is the
reason for stress among the students followed by
pressure to be competitive in their academic
performance. Assistance from faculty mentors and
environment at the academic institution works as a
stress buster (Debra L Nelson, & Ronald J Burke,
2000). Insecurity about getting lower grades in
academic performance as well as students who tend
to be employed and parallelly pursuing their
education face stress as they have to balance between
their work and academic and their activities. Their
ability to participate in the curricular activity is
limited compared to students who are only
concentrating on academics (Brown & Edelmann,
2000). Choice of program opted for the studies,
domain or area of education can result in stress among
Monica, M., H., C. and Ramanaiah, G.
The Assessment of Perceived Stress during Lock-down Due to COVID 19 among Students.
DOI: 10.5220/0011363800003350
In Proceedings of the 5th International Scientific Congress Society of Ambient Intelligence (ISC SAI 2022) - Sustainable Development and Global Climate Change, pages 410-417
ISBN: 978-989-758-600-2
2022 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
students as academic programs vary in terms of
curriculum and the level of preparation for respective
courses change in accordance with the same (Lori J.
Kane, 1997). Individuals are known to experience
stress mainly due to their perception of being stress
and due to academic curriculum among students, this
could result in psychological problems as well as
physiological issues (Beck DL, Srivastava R, 1991)
Studied the perceived among students. As per the
study the students pursuing postgraduate program are
known to face higher level of stress and the situation
has become quite alarming for institutions and
universities as retention of students and their
continuity in the academic has reduced over years.
Pressure of being employed, job opportunity in the
market, and stress of being competitive are few
reasons for stress among students pursuing post-
graduation program (Mane Abhay B, Krishnakumar
MK, Niranjan Paul C, Hiremath Shashidhar G, 2011).
Work environment at academic institutions has
become stressful over a period of time for reasons
such as job insecurities, Lack of commitment from
employee as well as employers’ perspective, work
relationships, availability of resources at work,
communication structure etc. (David Robotham,
Claire Julian, 2006).
Evaluated the reasons for increased stress. The
study says unhealthy behaviour such as over
consumption of fat diet, smoking, drinking alcohol as
a strategy for overcoming stress is resulting in
increased health problems among adults. Stress and
health problems experienced by adults are
interrelated with each other (Tytherleigh et al., 2005).
Stress level of students during their academic
program varies depending on the year of program
pursued by them as students close to completion of
program are known to have faced more stress. Male
students face psychological disturbance which results
in higher stress levels when compared to female
students (Ng DM, Jeffery RW, 2003). Their study
proved that stress resulted in decline of academic
performance of the students and few major sources of
stress among students were academic performance,
curriculum routine, criticism from faculty at the
institute, institution rules and regulations, fear of
being unemployed etc. Women employees tend to
face higher risk compare to their male counterpart due
to increasing leadership roles at work and as
employed women are expected to balance between
their personal and professional life compare to that of
male employees (Naidu R S, Adams J S, Simeon D,
Persad S, 2002).
Lifestyle, family conflicts, social status are few of
the major reasons for stress faced by individuals.
Individuals have known to push themselves to do
financially better with an assumption that they can
enjoy their life and comparatively face less stress. A
relaxed lifestyle, social environment social equalities,
consciousness towards healthy living are some key
tactics to reduce stress levels (Prangya Paramita
Priyadarshini Das, Rajkumar Sahoo, 2012). Students
mainly face stress in their academic life due to
physical reasons as well as pressure to excel in
academics. Many students have agreed about talking
to family, sleeping, watching TV, Listening to music
as a major source of stress buster and also students
indicate support from academic institution to provide
a counsellor to guide the students during the period of
stress (Roqayeh Aliyari, Hamidreza Roohafza, 2012).
Factors that lead to stress among students are
pressure to perform better in academic course, their
perception of academic load and examinations, time
constraints to prepare and perform in limited
duration, perception about individual’s ability etc.
Support of the faculty fraternity plays a crucial role in
developing confidence among students to perform
better which helps them in coping with stress (Patrick
M. Gallagher, 2015). Ability of a student to enjoy and
experience please in the environment around them or
based on their interest level in their day-to-day
activities may be related to the perceived stress and
restoration. Perceived stress in a student is also
related to their ability to perform or be productive in
the task performed by them (Dalia Bedewy, Adel
Gabriel, 2015).
Students pursuing master’s program are usually
under immense stress due to personal and
professional reasons that can have a negative impact
on academic performance of an individual, their
emotional stability, and mental as well as general
health. Students are observed to be practicing positive
lifestyle strategies to cope up with stress (Kate
Brough, 2015). Male students have higher level of
depression compare to that of female students
whereas stress levels faced by students tends to be the
same irrespective of their gender. Male students stress
gets into the level of depression as they have less
tendency to share the reasons for their stress in friends
circle or family (Ammar Awadh et al., 2013).
Self-efficacy of an individual has an impact on
perceived stress and life satisfaction. An individual or
a student mainly experiences stress depending on the
environment around them if the environment is
controllable the perceived stress is said to be lower
when compare to uncontrollable environment (Joey
Man Yee Kwok, Douglas Kei Shing NG, 2016).
Individuals experience stress mainly due to personal
and occupational reasons that could hamper
The Assessment of Perceived Stress during Lock-down Due to COVID 19 among Students
professional growth of an individual and productivity
from employer’s perspective. Individuals indicate
exercise, spending time with family, yoga,
meditation, spirituality to be helpful for coping with
stress and few initiatives that can be taken by the
employer to help employees deal with stress are
Employee assistance program, Stress intervention
programs, vacation etc. (Jieun Lee, EunYoung Kim,
Amy Wachholtz, 2016)
Evaluated the predictors of stress among students.
According to the study students mainly face stress
during their academic career due to the area of study
chosen by them and its popularity among youth.
Female students face higher level of stress than male
students due to pressure to perform from family and
it is observed that stress usually results to the stage of
depression. Counseling session held at the institute
level can help the students in coping with stress
related to academic performance (Dalia Saleh,
Nathalie Camart Lucia Romo, 2017).
The stress occurs among students mainly due to
the pressure of performing effectively in their
academic curriculum in limited period. Individuals
who intended to cope with stress diverted their mind
towards religion, lifestyle and non-acceptance,
denial, self-blame were few indicators observed
among students those are maladaptive to stress
(Lakshmi Rajesh, Ananda Reddy Endreddy, Subhani
Shaik, Bhagawan Rajana, 2017). The demographic or
biographic profile of the students such as age, gender
has an influence on stress level of students and also
factors such as clarity about employment, caring for
others, self-direction for preparation for academic has
relationship with the level of stress experienced and
females students face higher stress in post-graduation
program compare to that of male students (Luma
Ghazi Al Zamil, 2017). Individuals in the academic
phase of their life are known to experience high level
of stress due to insecurities related to their career and
are prone to problems such as anxiety, mental stress,
emotional imbalance and this behaviour is commonly
observed among students in the age group of 18 to 29
years (Matthew Peter Shaw, Daniel James Peart &
Orrin James William Fairhead, 2017).
The students tend to experience stress in their
academic career mainly due to perform well in
academics. Female students undergo higher stress
compare to that of male students and individuals who
are isolated, disengaged, who blame themselves for
problems around them exhibit negative stress
compared to students who are religious, socializing
and minimal planning (Zohair et al, 2018). The
relationship between perceived stress, burnout,
coping pattern and psychopathology among students.
According to the study, fear of failure, ability to have
interpersonal challenges with the tutor, faculty
student relationship, availability of study facilities are
some common reasons for stress among students.
Meditation, training in life skills, yoga and other
tactics could be helpful for students to cope with
stress (K. V. Guruprakash, S. G. Mehta,Bajpai Atul,
Jyoti Prakash, K. J. Divinakumar, S. A. Khan, and P.
Patra, 2018).
The quality of life of students will have an impact
on stress levels of students to certain extent but
sleeping disorder, burnout, depression, stress to
perform better are even more impactful which could
deteriorate stress further (K. Jayasankara Reddy,
Karishma Rajan Menon and Anjana Thattil, 2018).
The stress and quality of life among university
students. It concludes that lack of self-discipline and
time constraint to concentrate on self are few key
reasons for stress among females, experts indicate the
necessity for health education interventions to be
taken by the academic institutes to help female
students to cope with stress. Students pursuing higher
education pass through various levels of depression
such as moderate, mild mood swings, clinical
depression, severe and extreme depression. Student
assistance program, counseling program held at the
institute level can help students to come out of
depression (Icaro, J S Ribeiro et al., 2018).
The prevalence of depression among Afghan
university students tend to face stress mainly due to
reasons such as their master’s program, area of
specialization, job opportunity depending choice of
domain. Level of self-esteem in an individual, his or
her feeling of satisfaction in life, self-efficacy, ability
to handle psychological distress were certain factors
that indicate stress level among students (Bakhtyari
Mohammad Basir, Mutamed Mohammadulah, Bena
Ahmadsha, 2018).
Descriptive research design was adopted in the study
to gain insight into the perceived stress experienced
by the students during lockdown period between
April-May 2020 in India, due to COVID 19. A total
of 280 sample students-respondents pursuing their
higher education were chosen following snowball
sampling method and collected responses by
administering Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ)
which consist of 30 items.
PSQ consist of 30 items indicate on the scale from
1 to 4, where 1=almost never, and 4=usually for each
statement and these questionnaire emphasis on the
ISC SAI 2022 - V International Scientific Congress SOCIETY OF AMBIENT INTELLIGENCE
respondents perceived stress during recent times. The
scoring is done according to the selection of
respondents, the items such as 1, 7, 10, 13, 17, 21, 25,
29 are scored 5. The perceived stress index is
calculated using the formula. PSQ Index = (raw score
-30)/ 90. The scoring yields the score between 0 and
1. Higher the score, higher will be the stress level
amongst respondents. To check the reliability of the
scale and statements, Cronbach’s Alpha test was used
in SPSS. It was found that PSQ is reliable with value
0.859 for 30-item statement.
Table 1: Reliability Statistics.
Cronbach’s Alpha N of Items
.859 30
3.1 Research Objectives:
3.1.1 Objectives of the Study:
1. To assess perceived level of stress experienced
by higher education students during lockdown
due to COVID 19
2. To identify the reasons for perceived stress
amongst these students during lockdown
3. To analyse the perceived stress amongst
higher education students across age and
4.1 Respondents Profile
Table 2: Demographics of the Respondents.
< 20
Table 2, the demographic profile of samples
indicates that 54 per cent of respondents are male
(152) and the rest 46 per cent are female (128) out of
the total of 280 and majority of the respondents
belong to the age group of 18 – 25 Years
4.2 Descriptive Analysis
Table 3: Descriptive Scores.
Questions Scor
1 You feel rested during lockdown
2 You feel that too many demands are
eing made on you
3 You feel irritable during crisis
You have too many things to do
You feel lonely and isolated
6 You find yourself in the situation of
7 You feel that you are doing things that
ou reall
You feel tired
9 Your fear that you may not able to
manage to achieve goals
You feel calm
You have too many decisions to take
You feel frustrated
You are on full energy
You feel tensed
Your problem seems to be piling up
You feel that you are in hurry
You feel safe and protected
You have too many worries
You are under pressure from others
You feel discouraged
You enjoy yourself
You are afraid of future
23 You feel you are doing things because
you must not
ecause you want to
You feel criticized or judged
You are light-hearted
You feel mentally exhausted
You have trouble in relaxing
28 You feel loaded down with
You have enough time for yourself
You feel under pressure from deadlines
PSQ Index = (Raw score -30)/ 90
= (84.6-30)/90
= 0.607
The PSQ Index is drawn from raw score which is
0.607. The PSQ Index value ranges from 0 to 1.
Higher the Index score, higher will be the stress level.
The raw score indicated the level of stress during
lockdown due to COVID-19. Higher the scores,
The Assessment of Perceived Stress during Lock-down Due to COVID 19 among Students
higher the level of perceived stress. The perceived
stress ranges from moderate to high perceived stress
amongst these survey respondents during this COVID
19 crisis.
4.3 Friedman Rank Test:
Table 4: Ranks.
Reasons for Perceived Stress during
Too Many Demands on you 6.61
Feeling Irritable 8.03
Too many things to do 8.63
Feel lonely and isolated 6.59
Feel Tire
Fear of not achieving goals 6.84
Feeling frustrate
Too many worries 7.18
of future 7.98
Feeling mentally exhausted 6.17
Feeling under pressure from deadlines 6.99
Table 5: Test Statistics
N 280
Chi-Square 145.631
Df 12
Asymp. Sig. .000
a. Friedman Test
Friedman Rank test shows the ranks assigned by
respondents; it represents the rank information of the
data given by the respondents. The Friedman test was
used to determine the various factors (reasons) to
perceived stress. The respondents perceived stress
according to their reasons that caused stress by the
survey participants. It is observed from the table 4
that the students assigned the highest rant totoo
many things to do reason as the cause of their stress
with mean rank 8.63, followed by “feeling of
irritation” with 8.03. The next reason quoted for their
stress was “afraid of future” which occupies mean
rank of 7.98 and “feeling discouraged was given the
least rank which is 5.25.
The chi-square table 5 shows that there is
significant difference between these factors at
significant value 0.00. Since the significance value is
less than 0.01, it is concluded that the mean ranks of
these factors are not same.
The respondents felt that they have too many
things to do, which is causing perceived stress. When
the students feel that they are not able to prioritize and
assign importance to concentrate on too many things
and execute the task, the stress level increases. This
may cause irritation during crisis. It may be due to
lockdown, staying at home, lack of social interaction,
not able to access to the basic requirements, addiction
to internet and social media. The uncertainties about
future, downfall in economic condition, lack of job
opportunities, worried about examinations, online
classes, and academics, not able to achieve goals,
which creates fear about the future.
4.4 Analysis of Variance – One Way
1. To analyse the perceived stress amongst
higher education students across age and
The perceived stress amongst higher education
students across age and gender remains same.
Table 6: Gender * Age Crosstabulation
<20 20 21 22 23 24 25
Gender Male
9 53 22 37 25 4 2
Female 12 37 21 25 28 3 2 128
21 90 43 62 53 7 4
In terms of Gender, the percentage of males aged
20 is 53 (35%), which is larger than that of females in
the same age (28%). The percentage of females aged
23 and over is 22%, which is larger than that of males
in the same age group (16%)
Table 7: ANOVA Table.
F Sig. Hypothesis
Male 54
< 20
4.21 Supported
ISC SAI 2022 - V International Scientific Congress SOCIETY OF AMBIENT INTELLIGENCE
The feeling of irritation during crisis is same
across males and females with significance value
0.675. It means that irrespective of being males or
female’s respondents, both experience the same level
of perceived stress when encountered with difficulties
in the life events. The feeling of irritation during crisis
varies significantly across different age of the
respondents with the significant value 0.00. Hence the
result can be interpreted that, the perceived stress
differs across different ages but remains same
amongst males and females.
Table 8: Percevied Stress * Age.
The table 8 shows that the perceived stress is more
amongst the students whose age is in the range 20 to
23. The students who are in the age group 20 has
experienced more perceived stress. Further research
can be conducted to have deeper understanding about
the age and perceived stress.
4.5 Discussion and Implications
The research reveals that the perceived stress amongst
these students ranges from moderate to high with the
PSQ Index 0.607. The perceived stress remains same
amongst the males and females. It means the
perceived stress does not differ amongst males and
females. But result also shows that the perceived
stress varies with age. The feeling of irritation,
frustration, worries, uncertainties of future, too many
demands, too many things in life, feeling tensed, tired
staying at home, feels mentally exhausted, feels
pressured due to deadlines, fear of future, are the
major reasons for perceived stress.
The study focused on understanding stress
experienced among Higher Education students
especially during the lockdown period and what could
be the possible repercussions of the same and if the
stress experienced by the students had an influence
with relation to age and gender. The study was
supported by relevant reviews in the area for framing
the hypothesis and data analysis substantiates that
students of higher education do experience stress due
to various reasons such as not being able to prioritize
work, feeling agitated, sceptical about future
opportunities due to lockdown which varied among
the students whose age is between 20 to 23 years.
Academic Institutions as well as students should put
collective efforts towards coping up with stress in
lockdown situation. Students should be counselled
and mentored by faculty members at the institute for
guidance on academic performance and boost their
morale to confident about being successful in future
endeavour. Brown H, E Delmann R (2000)
Individuals life style has a major impact on mental
health hence students should engage in physical
fitness in the form of routine workout, listening to
music, practising yoga. K. Jayasankara Reddy,
Karishma Rajan Menon and AnjanaThattil (2018).
Hence handling stress at a student’s level is mainly
possible by culmination of stress coping strategies
from academic institution and students.
The study was focused mainly on assessing the
perceived stress level of higher studies students, also
to understand the various underlying reasons for
perceived stress using perceived stress questionnaire
consist of 30-item questions from 280 respondents.
The research also focused on analysing the perceived
stress level amongst males and females. The study
focused to understand the perceived stress level
during pandemic situation caused due to COVID 19.
The data was gathered through referrals of referrals
from survey respondents using snowball sampling.
The further research can focus on identifying the
coping strategies during such crisis. The negative life
events disturb causing irritation and frustrations
The Assessment of Perceived Stress during Lock-down Due to COVID 19 among Students
amongst the common people as well. So, the study
can focus on general public by increasing the sample
size to have accurate results.
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