DOI: 10.7717/peerj.16980 ISSN: 2167-8359

Academic stress in college students: descriptive analyses and scoring of the SISCO-II inventory

Juan-Luis Castillo-Navarrete, Claudio Bustos, Alejandra Guzman-Castillo, Walter Zavala
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience

In a competitive and demanding world, academic stress is of increasing concern to students. This systemic, adaptive, and psychological process is composed of stressful stimuli, imbalance symptoms, and coping strategies. The SISCO-II Academic Stress Inventory (SISCO-II-AS) is a psychometric instrument validated in Chile. It evaluates stressors, symptoms, and coping, both individually and globally. For its practical interpretation, a scale is required. Therefore, this study aims to descriptively analyze the SISCO-II-AS and to obtain its corresponding scales. Employing a non-experimental quantitative approach, we administered the SISCO-II-AS to 1,049 second and third-year students from three Chilean universities, with a disproportionate gender representation of 75.21% female to 24.79% male participants. Through descriptive and bivariate analysis, we established norms based on percentiles. For the complete instrument and its subscales, significant differences by sex were identified, with magnitudes varying from small to moderate. For the full instrument and its subscales, bar scale norms by percentile and sex are presented. Each subscale (stressors, physical and psychological reactions, social behavioural reactions, total reaction, and coping) has score ranges defined for low, medium, and high levels. These ranges vary according to the sex of the respondent, with notable differences in stressors and physical, psychological, and social behavioural reactions. This study stands out for its broad and heterogeneous sample, which enriches the representativeness of the data. It offers a comprehensive view of academic stress in college students, identifying distinctive factors and highlighting the importance of gender-sensitive approaches. Its findings contribute to understanding and guide future interventions. By offering a descriptive analysis of the SISCO-II-AS inventory and establishing bar norms, this research aids health professionals and educators in better assessing and addressing academic stress in the student population.

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