Dr.Hab., Professor V.G. Shilko1
PhD, Associate Professor Е.S. Potovskaya1
Dr.Med. T.A. Shilko1
1National Research Tomsk State University, Tomsk
Keywords: stressors, stress tolerance, stress factors, academic sports and physical practices, physical fitness, education and training.
Introduction. Stressors are various psychophysical factors that cause psycho-physiological discomfort and lead to the development of a special form of functional (extreme) state of the human body called stress. However, stress cannot be viewed solely under its negative aspect, since it triggers the adaptation mechanisms of body conditioning and specific training, which, in turn, contributes to the enhancement of man’s body resistance and strengthening of his mental and somatic health .
Nowadays, most researchers have a deep understanding of the main problems of students’ living, and they have identified rather a full range of stress factors affecting female students in particular. Those include: heavy academic loads, stresses associated with exams and communication, lack of parental care, inability to optimally arrange own work and rest schedule, doubts about vocational choice, etc.
At the same time, there is clearly a lack of scientific researches on minimization of stress on female students by means of physical exercises.
Objective of the study was to determine the effects of different sports on stress tolerance building in female students.
Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the experiment were the first-to-third year female students (n=240) from 15 departments and institutes of Tomsk National State University, all aged from 17 to 25 years and engaged in the following sports: cross-country skiing, track and field athletics, fitness, team sports, swimming.
The experiment was carried out during the second semester - from February through June 2017. The above-mentioned sport-specific educational and training loads were meant to reduce the subjects’ level of anxiety. To meet the objectives of our study, we developed a special methodology of training for the Experimental Group (EG) female students and implemented it in the standard academic physical education curriculum. Thus, the basic sport-specific exercises were supplemented by the special exercises to purposefully develop a variety of physical qualities: speed, agility, general, coordination, static and dynamic strength endurance. The Reference Group (RG) subjects were trained under the traditional physical education programs generally accepted in these sports.
The questionnaire survey was conducted twice - at the beginning and at the end of the experiment (February – June). The subjects’ level of anxiety was evaluated on a 5-point scale using a special questionnaire, consisting of 8 blocks, 35 questions each.
The impact of various sports on the female students’ state of health was estimated using a two-phase test conducted before and after the experiment. The baseline values of stress indicators and functional status of the EG and CG female students did not differ statistically significantly (p<0.05).
Results and discussion. Academic process related stress is among the most emotionally intense situations to be faced by female students. High intellectual activity throughout the entire period of studies is one of the main reasons why a steady-state academic stress may develop, which is manifested in loss of confidence, low self-esteem, negative psycho-emotional reactions, etc.
Out of 7 indicators characterizing the impact of unfavorable academic process related factors (Group 1 factors), the EG had a significant (p<0.05) advantage over the RG only in 1, in 4 – this advantage was expressed at the level of lower rates, and only in 2 - the RG subjects were found to have a lower level of anxiety as compared to the EG ones.
The ratio between the manifestations of stress in the second-year female students of the EG, which tended to decrease both at the beginning and at the end of the experiment, as opposed to the RG subjects, was approximately the same as that in the first-year female students.
In terms of the academic process related stresses, it is the third-year female students of the RG who were found to have lower rates in terms of the majority of the indicators.
The first-year female students of the EG were found to be more tolerant to the negative effects of Group 2 factors (motivational and organizational aspects of learning activity), influencing their psycho-emotional state: out of 6 stress indicators, 5 were characterized by the lower values as compared to the first-year female students of the RG. Moreover, the advantage achieved was statistically significant (p<0.05) in terms of 3 indicators. In the second and third years of studies, the anxiety levels were also lower in the EG in terms of 9 indicators out of 12, but at the end of the experiment they did not undergo any qualitative changes (p>0.05).
The re-testing of stress manifestations in both groups under the influence of Group 3 factors, which degree depended on the subjects’ ability to properly arrange their sleeping schedule, dietary regime and physical activity, showed that the second- and third-year female students of the RG were more adapted to student life difficulties. Stresses associated with the inability to create comfortable living conditions were more common for the female students of the EG. Although, as opposed to the EG, the RG subjects were found to have lower values in terms of most of the stress indicators of this group of factors - just a slight trend was observed. And only the level of discomfort associated with the lack of leisure was significantly lower in the female students of the RG rather than in the EG subjects.
Despite the lack of practical experience, it was the first-year female students of the EG who turned out to be more successful in organizing their work-rest regime - their anxiety levels were significantly lower as opposed to their fellow students of the RG; and in terms of 2 indicators out of 7 there were registered some qualitative changes.
In terms of importance, communication related stresses (Group 4 factors) always rank high in student life. The signs of communicative stress were traced in almost all of the first-to-third year female students. The dependence of the degree of communicative stress on the content of the educational programs was the smallest in the first-year female students of both groups. Here, some significant changes were detected in terms of 2 indicators out of 6. The "adverse intragroup relationships" factor slightly affected the first-year female students of the EG: their level of anxiety about this problem was significantly lower than in their fellow students of the RG. Conversely, the RG subjects had practically no problems in their personal life, their reaction to this factor at the end of the experiment was significantly weaker as compared to the EG subjects.
The signs of stress due to communication problems in the second- and third-year female students ranged within the average values (from 1.3 to 2.1 points), with a moderately pronounced downward trend in 83% of the indicators in the EG subjects, as compared to the RG ones.
The oppositely directed trends towards lower values in Group 5 factors (domestic and financial problems), that lead to stresses in the second and third years of studies, were almost equally distributed in both directions. Despite little experience, the first-year female students of the EG turned out to be significantly (p<0.05) more adapted to independent living away from their parents, as opposed to the RG subjects. In general, the developed model did not affect the stress tolerance indicators in the EG subjects under the influence of Group 5 factors.
Terrorist threat as well as threat of armed hostilities, regardless of the group affiliation of the subjects, caused more concern among the first-year female students. Here, the mean values of the mentioned stress factors ranged within 2.5 points, irrespective of the content of the training programs. In the second and third years of studies, these factors did not significantly affect the stress tolerance indicators in both groups, and their levels were statistically insignificant (within 0.6-0.8 points).
Much the same values characterizing the female students’ tolerant attitude to people of other ethnic origins and an increase in refugee numbers were observed in the first-year female students, with some statistically insignificant increase, followed by a decrease in the second and third years of studies.
The sociological research revealed that the female students of both groups were upset over the unstable dollar exchange rate and oil price. These factors significantly affect the stress tolerance indicators in the majority of the third-year female students of the EG (3.2 points) rather than the RG (1.6 points), which is quite natural, since at this age youngsters are more concerned about their future individual life, where pricing policy plays an important role.
Conclusion. Summing over all values of the indicators of all stress factor groups, it should be noted that the experiment showed a rather high efficiency of the experimental method, aimed to minimize the stress on female students. To a greater extent, it resulted in the reduction of stress factors associated with learning activities and communication of the EG subjects (Group 1, 2 and 4 factors), as compared to the RG, to a lesser extent – in the minimization of stress, which degree depended on the ability to arrange own work and rest schedule (Group 3 and 5 factors), where a clear downward trend was observed in the RG subjects. And they practically did not statistically significantly affected the stresses associated with the problems of social life (Group 6, 7, 8 factors).
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Corresponding author: email@example.com
The study was designed to test benefits of a stress tolerance building model including a variety of the sport-specific physical practices, with model benefits tested by an educational experiment. The first-to-third year female students (n=240) from 15 departments and institutes of Tomsk National State University were sampled for the experiment with the sample split up into 6 Experimental Groups (EG). The EG were trained under the standard academic physical education curriculum supplemented by the experimental stress tolerance building model including 10 to 20 exercises to purposefully develop a variety of physical qualities. The speed, agility, coordination, static strength and endurance building practices designed in a circular training format took 30 min prior to the core part of each training session. In addition to the physical qualities building component, the model gives a special priority to the volitional qualities cultivation tools to facilitate adaptation to a variety of stressors for success of the stress tolerance building process.
The stress tolerance building model was found beneficial, with the training model sport-specific contents customizable to the actual stressors in the first-to-third year academic educational process.