Single-parent nursing students in associate degree nursing programs: The social supports that buffered their college-related stress and fostered their academic success
Dawn R. Bunting, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE, FAADN, Professor Emeritus
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The purpose of this exploratory case study was to describe single-parent associate degree nursing students’ reports of the social supports that buffered their college-related stress and fostered their academic success. The study was designed to elicit participants’ descriptions of the stressors experienced as a result of being a single-parent community college nursing student and the types and sources of support that were helpful in buffering their college-related stress and fostering their academic success.
The conceptual framework used in this case study was House’s (1981) model of social support. According to House, social support is defined as “a flow of emotional concern, instrumental aid, information, and/or appraisal between people” (p. 26). The concept of social support addresses the question: “Who gives what to whom regarding which problems?” (p. 22). Crucially, support was found “to be effective only to the extent it is perceived” (p. 72).
A two-method approach was used to collect data to help answer the research questions. Study volunteers were asked to complete a paper-and-pencil survey and to participant in an inperson interview. Eleven single-parent associate degree nursing students, from four colleges that are part of a state-wide community college nursing program, participated in the study. Procedures associated with quantitative and qualitative research were used to analyze the data, which consisted of survey responses and verbatim transcripts of in-person interviews. This yielded 40 findings. Conclusions were drawn and recommendations for practice and future research were presented.
Survey and interview data indicated the most commonly reported source of stress for all participants was balancing coursework with personal responsibilities, confirming prior research findings that single-parent college students experience stressors related to balancing academic responsibilities with personal and job demands. Regarding types and sources of social support, all study participants reported that they had received emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal supports that buffered their college-related stress and fostered their academic success. The primary sources of emotional support were classmates, friends, family members, and professors. Instrumental support was provided mainly by their colleges but also by the state and family members. The primary sources of informational support were classmates, family members, and professors. Of note, family members and professors were identified as a source of appraisal support by only five study participants.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 3733653; ProQuest document ID: 1731272776. The author still retains copyright.
This item has not gone through this repository's peer-review process, but has been accepted by the indicated university or college in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the specified degree.
|Review Type||None: Degree-based Submission|
|Evidence Level||Case Study/Series|
|Research Approach||Qualitative Research|
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