Helping undergraduate students cope with stress: The role of psychosocial resources as resilience factors

Kee Jiar Yeo, Chia Keat Yap*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a plethora of studies identifying the various stressors responsible for stress incursion, many undergraduates still fail to cope with them, especially if there is a lack of necessary psychosocial resources. The purpose of this study is to examine the contribution of three psychosocial resources on stress reduction among undergraduates using a partial least squares-structural equation modelling approach. Based on cognitive adaptation theory (CAT), dispositional optimism, perceived academic control, and self-esteem were incorporated into the model to analyse the hypothesised relationships with stress. A survey-based cross-sectional study involving 147 undergraduates from a Malaysian public university was conducted. The questionnaire consists of four scales; namely Life Orientation Test-Revised, Perceived Academic Control Scale, Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, and Perceived Stress Scale. SmartPLS 3.0 was applied to understand the role of each psychosocial resource on stress. First-year undergraduates were found to have the highest level of perceived stress as compared to students in the other years of study. The results indicated an acceptable level of the measurement model. The structural model also showed moderate predictive relevance. Although self-esteem was not found to predict stress, both dispositional optimism and perceived academic control were found to negatively predict stress. Moreover, importance-performance map analysis (IPMA) indicated that university management should focus on dispositional optimism and invest additional effort in prioritising perceived academic control. Findings from this study will provide valuable insights into the role of psychosocial resources for undergraduate students to cope with stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-142
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number1
Early online date9 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2023


  • Dispositional optimism
  • Partial least squares
  • Perceived academic control
  • Psychosocial resources
  • Self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Structural equation modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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