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Pace of life and perceived stress in international students

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posted on 08.02.2021, 10:45 by Sonia Lippke, Torven Schalk, Ulrich Kühnen, Borui Shang
An accelerated pace of life greatly impacts individuals' health and lifestyles. However, this imposition has not been systematically researched within a culturally diverse sample. Thus, this study aimed to explore the subjective experience of the pace of life and its correlates in a culturally diverse sample within a German university context. This was done to test whether students (N = 156) with a migration background from other countries (n = 105) differ from students without migration background (n = 51). The pace of life, life satisfaction, stress, work-life balance, and health were measured on an individual level along with sociodemographic variables through online questionnaires. The pace of life was found to be invariant across students from different cultural backgrounds and unrelated to the length of stay at the current university. Interrelations were found between pace of life and work-life balance, r = .21, p < .05. While this study revealed perceived stress to be generally prevalent among students, the relationship between a slower pace of life and increased stress levels, ß = -.17, p < .05, disappears when controlling for health, ß = -.26, p < .01, work-life balance, ß = -.28, p < .01, and life satisfaction, ß = -.25, p < .01, as well as sociodemographic variables (only gender and medium length of stay were significant.) Furthermore, a mediation effect, b = -1.89, 95% CI [-3.598, -0.463], revealed that students cope with a faster pace of life by effective time management, which also leads to better work-life balance and in turn reduces the experienced level of stress. Future research should examine psychological mechanisms more extensively in longitudinal research and apply interventional designs to help students prevent and manage stress in the era of a fast-paced life.


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Lippke, S., Schalk, T. M., Kühnen, U. & Shang, B. (2021). Pace of life and perceived stress in international students. PsyCh Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/pchj.426

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PsyCh Journal

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Published online

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