Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Research Article: 2020 Vol: 23 Issue: 6

Socio-Economic and Ethical Implications of Stress on Teacher-Student Relationship

Ayesha Serfraz, University of the Punjab

Ahmed Muneeb Mehta, University of the Punjab

Hina Saleem, University of the Punjab

Samra Banaras, University of the Punjab

Volkan Altintas, Izmir Katip Celebi University


This study focuses on student-teacher relationship at University level to bring up the stress factors that affect the enactment and efficiency of both teachers and students. It also tries to identify the factors that influence both student-teacher relationships especially at high level when they have to interact more as they move towards projects/research leaving book behind which demands personal time/support of teacher/supervisor more than ever during academic life of a student. The main aim of the current study is to highlight the tension level amongst pupils and mentors and how this stress affect student-teacher relationship, since both are the foundations of any society, if any of them is not working with full efficiency and taking work as stress, it may have spill over effects over economic activities. The sample of this research consists of 160 contributors in which 80 were students and 80 were teachers. The participants of the study are university students and teachers from University of the Punjab, Pakistan. The sampling technique is purposive since the members of the study have been selected according to the objectives of the research which focuses only on the students and teachers of Punjab University. Based on the analysis, it was concluded that stress has a significant positive effect on both student-teacher performance which further affects the productivity and hence the economic activities get affected. The findings suggest that stress is strongly but negative associated with academic achievements. Due to low productivity, both students and teachers are unable to give their 100% which causes further stress and negatively affect social, economic and ethical activities. The findings of the study will help to highlight and eliminate the stressors that lower the performance of student and teachers which would ultimately help to flourish the social and economic factors.


Teacher's Performance, Student's Performance, Socio Economic Factors, Ethical Factors, Stress, Education.


Stress is one of the most common issues these days, but most of the people do not like to talk about it as they feel ashamed or hesitant which leads to suicides and criminal actions. The effects of stress can be disastrous and unpredictable; therefore it needs to be carefully handled (Elias et al., 2011). There are different concepts of stress, it can be professional, it may be related to personal life or it can be genetic but stress has become one of the most talked about issues among people of all classes, unfortunately many people try to ignore it instead of finding solutions. Normal concept of stress emphasizes that Stress usually occurs when the demands of a person exceed form his abilities (Khan et al., 2013). Stress is known as a “state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”. Common causes behind the stress are usually financial, emotional, environmental, social, economic, and academic. Stress creating features are called stressors. Different studies found various effects of stress in terms of diseases, loss of appetite, sleeping issues, changes in mood, learning disabilities, attentiveness issues, and many more (Keinan & Malach-Pines, 2007). Same results were found by (Abrar et al., 2020) that there exist between abusive supervision and stress, therefore organization should interfere in reducing stressors and that there should a proper policy framework to smooth teacher-student relationship. Same views have been expressed by (Bezpalova et al., 2020), In the present world, advanced education as an essential asset in the field of spirtual, cultural and social-economic improvement of the entire society in general and of each person, specifically, involves a huge spot among the main zones of state strategy. In this globalized world, proper policies are very important to keep a smooth flow of higher education.

Then again, it isn't just society or a person who feels the negative impacts on their wellbeing, yet additionally the overflows can be seen overall economy because of reduced productivity and lack of motivation towards work. If the individuals feel stressed in their personal life, it will be reflected in their professional lives, too. Furthermore, the productivity decreases which results in low economic activity both at the micro and macro level. In addition, from political and economic point of view, these effects are not limited to geographical boundaries, but also international relations which can disturb, for example, low trade and investment patterns can cause low economic growth. Having a good mental and physical health is very important to perform different tasks at all levels for all starting from a simple daily wage earner to a politician running a country. Adding on, if one fears about his/her health, it will be reflected on the performance at workplace and may result in loss of job causing further crises related to finances and economic issues.

Regarding the impact of stress at the international level, many researchers are of the view that both mental and physical health are an integral part of human being and a person must be healthy in both sense to perform better in all fields of life. According to a study, 74 countries (both industrial and developing) have been analysed over the period of 1980-2000, the results show that the countries in which population is healthy, has more productive workers and they witness high level foreign direct investment inflows (Giorgi et al., 2015). Therefore, to understand the impact of stress on social and economic factors this article aims at understanding the basics of stress i.e. studying the very basic reason for stress which has been taken as academic stress since this is the starting point of every person's social interaction and absorbing economic gains. For this purpose, some questions have been proposed which include an understanding of stressors that influence the academic performance of students. Keeping a balance these articles also studies the pattern which cause stress to makers of any society i.e. teachers. The analyses have been done to see what factors cause stress to mentors and what kind of spill over effects a country faces. This article is unique and innovative in the sense that it analyses the two-way causation of stress between and teachers and students and what effects it can have at a social and economic level, whereas, majority of literature is based on analysing stress factors related to students only.


The main purpose of this study is to analyse the main stressors that affect the academic performance and the student-teacher relationship within the framework of the following research questions:

1. Is there a relationship between stress and students’ academic performance?

2. Is there a relationship between stress and student-teacher interaction?


This study uses the inferential study analysing the relationship between stress and the academic activities of the student and teachers. The sample consists of overall 160 participants. In this study, 80 participants were students and 80 were teachers who work at University of the Punjab Lahore. The sampling method applied in this study was purposive sampling. A self-administered questionnaire was directed, which is also an innovative part of the study, and was divided into three parts. The first part comprises of demographics (name, gender, semester, marital status, education level). The second section comprises three closed self-administered questions with two options (yes/no), which were developed to understand the association between stress and performance. The third section comprises of 16 items in Perceived Academic Stress (PAS) scale which was modified to suit the purpose of the study.

Literature Review

Academic Stress on Students and its Social and Economic Impacts

A healthy and productive teacher-student interaction is linked with the progress and satisfaction of both student and the teacher. Both have different expectations from each other. A student wants his teacher to be fair, caring, and available when needed, productive, lenient, and understanding. Likewise, teachers expect their students to be productive, fully prepared, obedient, and do their assigned work on time (Essel & Owusu, 2017; Mainhard et al., 2009). In many cases, students work to make arrangements for fee. In case of females, some of them get married during their academic life and also have to manage their families. Sometimes, they have to give up their education to perform household activities. According to Fazal et al. (2020), females are given less opportunities for studying as compared to their male counterparts and those who get permission, face double difficulty; manage their home stress and it academic stress which creates difficulty for them to concentrate fully on their academic work (research project). On the other hand, teachers have to do multitasking, i.e., facilitate a large number of students working on different research topics, delivering lectures, dealing with the management and family issues (Meng & Wang, 2018). These are the stress-causing situations which cause a friction between teacher–student relationships which further affects the quality of work. When the quality of work is affected, negative effects are observed both at the social and economic level. In the case of undergraduate students, diverse stressors create stress which includes a short time for assignments. Furthermore, (Baldwin et al., 2009) emphasize that working student’s experience more stress during the final year due to the submission of their final projects. The short period for examination and test increase stress among students (Ongori, 2009). Correspondingly, when there is not sufficient time to complete the task of excessive workload accompanied by lack of support, and high expectations result in panic and anxiety (Behere et al., 2011). Both of these factors result in a weak society consisting of unhealthy people having low mental and physical health.

Coming towards academic stress at the student level, analysts have recognized distinctive vital stressors which incorporate difficult assignments, undesirable competition, fear of disappointment to full fill self-expectations, disturbed interpersonal connections in the course or with teachers, and family issues (Fairbrother & Warn, 2003). Huss Factors such as programs comprised of complex concepts, undesirable lesson timings, highlighting week students by teachers, teachers’ rigid behaviours, teachers’ favouritism, and disturbed relationship with teachers, tough syllabus, cause burden on students (Nakalema & Ssenyonga, 2013). Many students find it difficult to manage their assignment in class, which increases stress (Bitzer & Bruin, 2004). Particularly, the individuals who are not good at their studies, experience more stress in managing their work (Petersen et al., 2009). Many studies conclude that intensive workload, academic pressure act as main stressors at university level (Seyedfatemi et al., 2007). Many researchers also found that taking an exam, studying for competition among the class, and to cover information in a small period create a high level of stress (Abouserie, 1994). Learning, achieving, and insufficient time to accomplish a task are all among the main academic stressors (Kariv & Heiman, 2005). Analysts give more importance to marks gained in papers as a symbol of a smart job and better opportunities (Nakalema & Ssenyonga, 2013). Due to the high level of pressure, their health and academic performance can be negatively affected (Olowookere et al., 2015). Anxiety, frustration and depression are the main consequences of intense stress (Prabu, 2015).

Academic Stress on Teachers and its Socio Economic and Ethical Impacts

Workplace stress is a very common problem in developing countries where the employer does not take into account the consequences of stress on their job performance and as a result, their productivity reduces at their workplace which may result in low income, loss of a job, unhealthy competition, etc. (Imtiaz & Ahmad, 2009). Excessive stress affects the individual negatively (McShane & Jennifer, 2011). Negative effects on individuals include reduced effectiveness, less inspiration, and non-appearance in an organization (Dollard & Metzer, 1999). The impact of stress can be seen as absenteeism and loss of employment which is a very serious case when employment level reduces in any economy, the economic growth reduces. As mentioned earlier, low economic growth does not only affect the individual growth of a country but also its performance gets negatively affected at the international level. In an organization, employee performance and goal achievement get negatively affected by stress (Jalagat, 2017). Gluschkoff et al. (2017) have noticed that occupational stress negatively impacts organizational performance as well as the cognitive patterns of employees working at different levels. Network members start feeling frustrated as a result of continuous stress. Job stress does not only reduce the performance level but also horribly affects healthcare (Laal, 2013). Accommodation, social, personal and academic factors influence the working ability of the individual (Kohn & Frazer, 1986). Misra et al. (2000) concluded that stress lowers the working ability of an individual by affecting his concentration and energy negatively (Khan et al., 2013).


These parts discuss the result from the data gathered. The findings presented here are based on the data collection instrument. This result is formulated in SPSS 20.0 and represented through tables and discussion. Overall, it will explain the profile of the respondents, analysis of the results proving the research questions as well as the conclusion. As the questionnaires were based on two sections, the result will be analysed accordingly.

The first section is based on the Yes/No questions answering our research question 1 i.e. to know whether there is any relationship between stress and academic performance or not, and second section will prove the research question 2 that which academic stressor impact more on academic performance, through Likert scale ratings.

Descriptive Statistics

Table 1 represents the percentage of yes/no responses by the participants of the study about the three basic questions regarding stress, performance, and relationship. The results demonstrate that both students and teachers (above 95%) agreed on the fact that they face stress at the university level which not only affects their performance but also negatively impacts the relationship between the student and teachers.

Table 1 Descriptive Statistics
General Scale Students’ Yes/No % Teachers’ Yes/No %
Faced Stress 100 90
Stress Affected Your Performance 90 90
Stress Affected Student-Supervisor Relationship 95 100

Reliability Analysis

To check the reliability of scales, Cronbach Alpha coefficients of all the scales were calculated. The results of the analysis are demonstrated in Table (2).

Table 2 Reliability of Scales in the Final Questionnaires
S. No Name of the Scales Number of Items Cronbach Alpha
Students’ Views
1 Stress Related to Academic Expectations 4 0.81
2 Stress Related to Academic Work and Examinations 4 0.7
3 Stress Related to Students’ Academic Self Perception 4 0.72
4 Stress Related to Students’ Academic Self Perception 4 0.72
Teachers/Supervisors’ Views
5 Stress Related to Academic Expectations 4 0.6
6 Stress Related to Faculty Work and Examinations 4 0.63
7 Stress Related to Teachers’ Academic Self Perception 4 0.67
8 Stress Related to Student and Supervisor Relationship 4 0.68

Cronbach Alpha Values (Student View)

1. Sress related to academic expectations=0.8;

2. Stress-related to workload and examination=0.7;

3. Stress-related to students self-perception=0.7;

4. Stress-related to student-supervisor relationship=0.7.

Cronbach Alpha Values (Teachers View)

1. Stress-related to academic expectations=0.60;

2. Stress-related to faculty workload and examination=0.63;

3. Stress-related to teachers self-perception=0.67;

4. Stress-related to student-supervisor relationship=0.68.

Comparative Analysis (Overall Mean Values)

Mean values are calculated to analyse which factor is affecting more both students and teachers and how much they are high or low with other scales. Each scale shows a high mean value that is more than 3.0. Results show that all the participants of the study agreed on the fact that most of the stress factors affect their performance and relationship.

The p. value that clearly represents that only two scales (1) Stress-related to students’ academic self-perception (students view); (2) Stress-related to academic expectations (teachers view) are not as statistically significant as their p. value is greater than 0.05 while the other six scales 1- Stress related to academic expectations, 2- Stress related to workload and examination, 3-Stress related to student and supervisor relationship (from the student point of view) and 1- Stress related to faculty work and examination, 2- Stress related to teachers academic self-perception, 3- Stress related to student and teacher relationship (teachers point of view) are highly significant as their value is less than 0.05. Based on the t-test analysis, the mean score of females is high as compared to males, which means that, according to this study, females are more affected by the stress.

Multiple Regression Analysis

Multiple regression test demonstrate that only four scales out of eight scales contributed significantly for predicting the stress and performance of the sample (Student and Teacher). The contribution of all scales is significant at p<0.05. The strongest predictors of the stress and performance are “Stress Related to Student and Supervisor Relationship (Student)”, “Stress Related to Faculty Work and Examinations (Teacher)” and “Stress Related to Student and Supervisor Relationship (Teacher)” and “Stress Related to Academic Work and Examinations (Student)”. Stress related to student and supervisor relationship (Student) is showing 29.7% of the variance and is the most significant variable in this study. Stress related to faculty work and examinations (Teacher) is the second most significant variable as its percentage of variance is almost 19.8%. Stress related to student and supervisor relationships (Teacher) is the third most significant variable that affects the performance of teachers with a variance of 16.4%. Stress related to academic work and examinations (Student) is the fourth variable that affects the performance with the variance of 15.4%.

Discussion and Conclusion

The main objective of this study is to highlight the effect of stress on academic performance based on teacher-student relationship. Uncertainty of job by students in this study was also highlighted as a main stressor among students by previous studies (Elias et al., 2011). Students responded that the lack of support and unfair assessment from their supervisors also deemed a bit unethical proved to be the most stressful for them (Khan et al., 2013). For university level students, the most stressful thing is to submit their thesis or final projects in which they continuously need guidance and supervision from their supervisors. In these study supervisors on the same side responded that they are also going through different phases of stress. Results express that teachers agreed that they are overburdened with students which makes them more stressed. They also accept that students asking for help at the eleventh hour increase their stress, yet most of them were in the favour that the heavy workload makes them more stressed. These facts are also supported by a Chinese study on faculty work in which the heavy workload, supervising a large number of students were found as important stressors. (Essel & Owusu, 2017; Meng & Wang, 2018). As a result of multiple regression analysis workloads and student-supervisor relationships, stressors are predicted as the strongest factors affecting the performance of both students and teachers. As most of the students irritate teachers by not responding on time, some of them don’t follow their (Essel & Owusu, 2017) instruction. These are the stress factors that create stress between student-teacher relationships. Because all university teachers want their students to be understanding, good listeners, responding. Similarly, Burton et al. (2012) also found that different stressors such as workload, overburdened with students, more research activities to do adversely impact the relationship between the students and the university teachers. Teachers also agree that not being appreciated for their work by the administration demotivates them and increase their stress level, affect their performance. Research also supports the fact that lack of administrative support causes stress (Aydo?an, 2008; Gagnon et al., 2019).

It can be concluded that stress plays an essential role in every person's life. When teachers are stressed the whole society and economy gets affected because teachers are responsible for building a nation. Similarly, youth is the future of any nation. If the youth is in stress, a concrete foundation of any society or economy is not possible. Therefore, it is very important to conduct more research about this issue and try to find out a solution to remove the stress between makers and builders and strengthen societies and economies.


This study analysed different stressors which directly or indirectly affect the student-teacher relationship and their performance. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the stressors that affect this relationship, and the administration should take important steps to eliminate these stressors by reducing the workload so that both students and teachers are able to improve their performance. To eliminate stress among students and teachers, it is necessary to implement stress managing workshops that would help them to know about stressors that do not only affect their performance but also disturb the relationship between them. Furthermore, the academic environment should be improved in the sense that both teachers and students would feel motivated to perform better. Students need to be aware of the fact that teachers are also suffering from different types of stressors, so both of them need to communicate about the stress-creating situations. Both teachers and students would be able to contribute to the economic growth and development if they can work in a stress free situation.


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