A Phenomenological Approach to Understanding the Pressure to Perform Academically and Subsequent Stress of Students in High-Performing Catholic College Preparatory High Schools

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Authors
Harty, Anne
Issue Date
2019-04-05
Type
Dissertation
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en_US
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Abstract
Previous research suggested that students in high-performing public and private college preparatory schools are under stress and pressure to perform academically. This phenomenological research study focused on describing the shared experiences relating to the pressure to perform academically and subsequent stress of students in high-performing Catholic college preparatory high schools in Northern California. No such study exists to date. The study sample was 23 students divided amongst three schools in the same metropolitan area. The data sources for this study were 16 one-on-one interviews, one focus group, and a document analysis. Study participants described the experience as being a multifaceted phenomenon inclusive of sources of pressure, consequences, and support systems. The main finding from this study is that this issue is complex because the following sources of pressure: the high school culture of achievement, student attributes and abilities, parenting style, Catholic high school culture, and the college admissions process are balanced with sources of support. The only source of pressure not balanced with sources of support was societal issues and the American culture. This general finding suggests that parents and school personnel must be mindful of the overall driving force of the American culture when caring for students experiencing the phenomenon. Specific ways to support students are discussed in chapter five. Data gleaned from this study will be put toward developing an education program for parents and educators in the three schools, so that they may understand the phenomenon. This study may contribute to the body of qualitative research on the topic.|Keywords: stress, academic pressure, high-performing, students, phenomenological, college preparatory, lived experiences, Catholic
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Creighton University
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Copyright is retained by the Author. A non-exclusive distribution right is granted to Creighton University and to ProQuest following the publishing model selected above.
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