A total of 80 Leaving Certificate students from two disadvantaged schools in
Dublin took part in this study. Female students and male students were equally
represented. The aim of the study was to identify the main stressors in the lives of
female and male students in their final Leaving Certificate year.
The questionnaire used was a modified version of the Schools Stressors
Inventory for Adolescents and the Life Events checklist. Analysis of the data
identified significant stressors. The most significant were: fear of doing badly in the
Leaving Certificate, future depending on getting good grades, fear of not getting
enough points, feeling below average in some subj ects, and anxiety about career
choice. The most significant gender differences noted were: feeling unattractive,
overweight, and worries about acne. Other gender differences noted were difficulty
communicating with parents, fear of dropping from honours to pass and bereavement
of someone close.
It can be concluded from the present study that major environmental sources
of stress as perceived by the students were those related to the examination itself,
worries about the future, poor self-esteem, dissatisfaction with body-image,
communication with parents and life events e.g. bereavement.
The implications of these findings were examined under the following
headings: policy makers and educators, students and parents.