Effects of level of personal self-regulation and different contexts of stress on coping strategies in higher education
Resumen: Introduction: In this chapter, we want to examine certain variables typical of clinical
perspectives, but applying them within the sphere of educational psychology to the
teaching-learning process. Personal self-regulation is a construct which is defined as a
person¿s ability to plan, monitor and direct his or her behavior in changing situations.
Coping strategies can be defined as behavioral and cognitive efforts that are carried out
in order to deal with stress, so as to resolve both external and internal stress-generating
demands. Context of stress refers to different situations that contextualize the teachinglearning
process: university students and professional exam candidates. The objective of
the present research is to establish how personal self-regulation and different contexts of
stress produce differences in the coping strategies used by students, whether university
students or guaduates who are preparing for competitive exams.
Method: A total of 243 students from the University of Almeria (Spain) or who were
preparing for competitive exams participated in the study. The measures used were: (1)
Personal self-regulation, through the Short Self-Regulation Questionnaire SSRQ in its
Spanish version; (2) Coping strategies, through the Coping Strategies Spanish Scales, in
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78 Jesús de la Fuente, Lucía Zapata Sevillano and José Manuel Martínez-Vicente
their original version. The analyses made were association analysis, though Pearson
bivariate correlations, cluster analysis, and MANOVAs with an ex post-facto design.
Results: The context of stress has an effect on coping strategies, but it depends on the
student¿s level of self-regulation. In this study, the university students use more problemfocused
strategies (positive reappraisal and firmness) and the competitive exam
candidates use more emotion-focused strategies (reduction of anxiety and avoidance and
emotional venting and isolation).
Conclusion: Evidence is offered to defend that the competitive exam situation
produces strong emotional reactions that must be dealt with effectively in order to enable
one to study more successfully. With this result we can focus intervention strategies on
different kinds of students, whether university students or professional exam candidates.