Do Cultural Differences Play a Role in the Relationship Between Time Pressure, Workload and Student Well-Being?

  • Omolaso OmosehinEmail author
  • Andrew P. Smith
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1107)


Student workload is an issue that has implications for undergraduate student learning, achievement and well-being. Time pressure, although not the only factor that influences students’ workload or their perception of it, is very pivotal to students’ workload. This may vary from one country to the other and maybe affected by cultural differences. The current study investigated the impact of nationality and time pressure on well-being outcomes as well as perceptions of academic stress and academic work efficiency. The study was cross-cultural and cross-sectional in nature and comprised 360 university undergraduates from three distinct cultural backgrounds: White British, Ethnic Minorities (in the United Kingdom) and Nigerian. The findings suggest that time pressure directly or indirectly (i.e. in tandem with nationality) predicted negative outcomes, work efficiency and academic stress. This implies that nationality/ethnicity also plays a role in the process.


Time pressure Student workload Cultural differences Nationality Ethnicity Student Well-being 


  1. 1.
    Wickens, C.D., Hollands, J.G., Banbury, S., Parauraman, R.: Engineering Psychology and Human Performance, 4th edn. Routledge, Abingdon (2016)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Byrne, A.: The effect of education and training on mental workload in medical education. In: Longo, L., Leva, M.Chiara (eds.) H-WORKLOAD 2018. CCIS, vol. 1012, pp. 258–266. Springer, Cham (2019). Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fan, J., Smith, A.P.: The impact of workload and fatigue on performance. In: Longo, L., Leva, M.C. (eds.) H-WORKLOAD 2017. CCIS, vol. 726, pp. 90–105. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bowyer, K.: A model of student workload. J. High. Educ. Policy Manag. 34(3), 239–258 (2012). Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kingsland, A.J.: Time expenditure, workload, and student satisfaction in problem-based learning. New Dir. Teach. Learn. 1996(68), 73–81 (1996). Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kember, D.: Interpreting student workload and the factors which shape students’ perceptions of their workload. Stud. High. Educ. 29(2), 165–184 (2004). Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kyndt, E., Berghmans, I., Dochy, F., Bulckens, L.: ‘Time is Not Enough.’ Workload in Higher Education: a student perspective. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 33(4), 684–698 (2013). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Devlin, M., Gray, K.: In their own words: a qualitative study of the reasons Australian university students plagiarize. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 26(2), 181–198 (2007). Scholar
  9. 9.
    Baeten, M., Kyndt, E., Struyven, K., Dochy, F.: Using student-centred learning environments to stimulate deep approaches to learning: factors encouraging or discouraging their effectiveness. Educ. Res. Rev. 5(3), 243–260 (2010). Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chambers, E.: Work-load and the quality of student learning. Stud. High. Educ. 17(2), 141–153 (1992). Scholar
  11. 11.
    Souto-Iglesias, A., Baeza_Romero, M.: Correction to: a probabilistic approach to student workload: empirical distributions and ECTS. High. Educ. 76(6), 1027–1027 (2018). Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ramsden, P.: Improving teaching and learning in higher education: the case for a relational perspective. Stud. High. Educ. 12(3), 275–286 (1987). Scholar
  13. 13.
    Smith, A.P.: Student Workload, Wellbeing and Academic Attainment SubmittedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bergin, A., Pakenham, K.: Law student stress: relationships between academic demands, social isolation, career pressure, study/life imbalance and adjustment outcomes in law students. Psychiatry Psychol. Law 22(3), 388–406 (2014). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pritchard, M., McIntosh, D.: What predicts adjustment among law students? A longitudinal panel study. J. Soc. Psychol. 143(6), 727–745 (2003). Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ryan, R.M., Deci, E.L.: On happiness and human potentials: a review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 52, 141–166 (2001). Scholar
  17. 17.
    Caccioppo, J.T., Bernsto, G.B.: The affect system: architecture and operating characteristics. Curr. Dir. Psychol. Sci. 8, 133–137 (1999). Scholar
  18. 18.
    Smith, A.P., Wadsworth, E.A.: A holistic approach to stress and wellbeing. Part 5: what is a good job? Occup. Health (At work) 8, 25–27 (2011)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mark, G., Smith, A.P.: Stress models: a review and suggested new direction. In: Houdmont, J., Leka, S. (eds.) Occupational Health Psychology, vol. 3, pp. 111–144. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham (2008)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Zurlo, M.C., Vallone, F., Smith, A.P.: Effects of individual differences and job characteristics on the psychological health of Italian nurses. Europe’s J. Psychol. 14, 159–175 (2018). Scholar
  21. 21.
    Smith, A.P.: Cognitive fatigue and the wellbeing and academic attainment of university students. J. Educ. Soc. Behav. Sci. 24(2), 1–12 (2018). Scholar
  22. 22.
    Williams, G.M., Smith, A.P.: A longitudinal study of the well-being of students using the student wellbeing process questionnaire (Student WPQ). J. Educ. Soc. Behav. Sci. 24(4), 1–6 (2018). Scholar
  23. 23.
    Omosehin, O., Smith, A.P.: Adding new variables to the well-being process questionnaire (WPQ) – further studies of workers and students. J. Educ. Soc. Behav. Sci. 28(3), 1–19 (2018). Scholar
  24. 24.
    Smith, A.P., Smith, H.N.: Workload, fatigue and performance in the rail industry. In: Longo, L., Leva, M.C. (eds.) H-WORKLOAD 2017. CCIS, vol. 726, pp. 251–263. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  25. 25.
    Chambel, M.J., Curral, L.: Stress in academic life: work characteristics as predictors of student well-being and performance. Appl. Psychol. 54(1), 135–147 (2005). Scholar
  26. 26.
    Karasek, R., Theorell, T.: Healthy Work: Stress, Productivity and the Reconstruction of Working Life. Basic Books, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Cotton, S.J., Dollard, M.F., de Jonge, J.: Stress and job design: satisfaction, well-being and performance in university students. Int. J. Stress. Manag. 9(3), 147–162 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Perrewé, P.L., Zellars, K.L.: An examination of attributions and emotions in the transactional approach to the organizational stress process. J. Organ. Behav. 20(5), 739–752 (1999).;2-cCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ballard, B.: Academic adjustment: the other side of the export dollar. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 6(2), 109–119 (1987). Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mullins, G., Quintrell, N., Hancock, L.: The experiences of international and local students at three australian universities. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 14(2), 201–231 (1995). Scholar
  31. 31.
    Alharbi, E., Smith, A.: Review of the literature on stress and wellbeing of international students in English-speaking countries. Int. Educ. Stud. 11(6), 22 (2018). Scholar
  32. 32.
    Sheldon, K.M., Krieger, L.S.: Does legal education have undermining effects on law students? Evaluating changes in motivation, values, and well-being. Behav. Sci. Law 22(2), 261–286 (2004). Scholar
  33. 33.
    Williams, G., Pendlebury, H., Thomas, K., Smith, A.: The student well-being process questionnaire (student WPQ). Psychology 08(11), 1748–1761 (2017). Scholar
  34. 34.
    Williams, G., Thomas, K., Smith, A.: Stress and well-being of university staff: an investigation using the demands-resources-individual effects (DRIVE) model and well-being process questionnaire (WPQ). Psychology 08(12), 1919–1940 (2017). Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kohn, P.M., Lafreniere, K., Gurevich, M.: The Inventory of College Students’ Recent Life Experiences: a decontaminated hassles scale for a special population. J. Behav. Med. 13(6), 619–630 (1990). Scholar
  36. 36.
    Bodenhorn, N., Miyazaki, Y., Ng, K., Zalaquett, C.: Analysis of the inventory of college students’ recent life experiences. Multicult. Learn. Teach. 2(2) (2007).
  37. 37.
    Cohen, S., Mermelstein, R., Kamarck, T., Hoberman, H.: Measuring the Functional Components of Social Support (1986)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Omosehin, O., Smith, A.: Nationality, ethnicity and the well-being process in occupational samples. Open J. Soc. Sci. 07(05), 133–142 (2019). Scholar
  39. 39.
    Connor, K.M., Davidson, J.R.: Development of a new resilience scale: the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC). Depress. Anxiety 18(2), 76–82 (2003). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, School of PsychologyCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

Personalised recommendations