The effects of multiple social roles on 3rd Level college students' mental health and perception of stress

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Fluehr, Mona
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The Irish third level college sector is increasing especially in the current economic downturn. Many have to return to college to obtain new qualifications for a new career path. Rising tuition fees forces many students to work in order to pay for their third level education. More and more students have multiple social roles, such as employment and parenthood in addition of being a student. Research on the effects of multiple roles on individual well-being has often showed contradictory results, some supporting the Role Expansion Theory and other the Role Stress Theory. This quantitative survey study aimed to examine the impact of multiple social role occupancy on mental health as well as stress perception among college students. Research sample consisted of 210 full-time and part-time students from various faculties who filled out a questionnaire booklet that assessed life satisfaction, general health and stress perception. Results showed that female students with multiple social roles experienced higher levels of perceived stress and lower mental health, supporting the Role Stress Theory. For male students no significant results were found. Keywords: multiple social roles, mental health, stress, college students