The Effects of personality and perceived stress on the well being of nursing and psychology students : a cross-sectional study
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A cross-sectional design was used to explore the relationships between personality, perceived stress and life satisfaction in a sample of nursing and psychology students studying in Edinburgh. Goldberg’s (2001) 50-item IPIP questionnaire, Cohen’s (1983) 14-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and Deiner’s (1985) Satisfaction with Life Scale were used to measure these variables. Both groups were administered the same questionnaire. The occurrence of injury and effects of course workload were also examined. Analysis of independent samples ttests found no significant differences between nursing and psychology students’ levels of perceived stress or satisfaction with life scores, though due to the small number of nursing students used in the comparison (N=22) these results were interpreted with caution. Nursing students were found to have up to three times as much total workload than psychology students. Psychology students were found to score significantly higher on extraversion than nursing students, which may explain the increased number of injuries found in this group. Correlations showed stress to be significantly associated with well being, emotional stability (opposite of neuroticism), and conscientiousness, while life satisfaction was found to be significantly related to extraversion and emotional stability. There were no significant correlations with age, though sex was found to be significantly associated with stress, openness and emotional stability. In addition, the results of multiple regressions revealed emotional stability and agreeableness to significantly contribute to stress, with negative effects of life satisfaction and age, showing that aspects of personality are the most likely factors to lead to stress. A similar result was found for life satisfaction, with extraversion and emotional stability found to make the largest contributions to this variable, though stress also contributed to the outcome. The present study added to previous research on the relationship between stress and subjective well being, and highlighted the importance of personality in this relationship. Although very little significant differences were found between nursing and psychology students, the need for further research in this area is discussed.