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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 7, 2023

Stressors and learned resourcefulness in baccalaureate nursing students: a longitudinal study

  • Anne-Marie Goff ORCID logo EMAIL logo



This correlational longitudinal study examined levels and relationships of Learned Resourcefulness (LR), stressors, and academic performance in baccalaureate nursing students at a North Carolina university.


Gadzella‘s Student-life Stress Inventory (SSI) and Rosenbaum’s Self-Control Scale (SCS) administered to 85 students in two groups upon admission and graduation.


LR increased, while stress decreased significantly in both groups (p < 0.05). Both groups (95.3% female, 85.8% Caucasian) reported similarly high frustration, pressure, and emotional reactions to stress. Significant relationship between taking tests and stress (p < 0.01). Stressors (p < 0.05) and age (p < 0.01) significant predictors of academic performance. Significant correlations of LR and work status (p < 0.01), and increased self-esteem (< 0.05). No significant relationships among LR, stressors, and academic performance.


Results validate high levels of stress and suggest that higher LR enhances coping skills and decreases stress longitudinally, which can improve academic performance and retention.

Implications for International Audience

Trends and relationships in stressors and LR should be explored internationally in larger, more diverse samples of college students in nursing and other majors in relation to depression, anxiety, health-related behaviors, demographics, and academic performance. LR can be assessed, taught, learned, and enhanced. Greater numbers of qualified, competent nursing graduates with stronger clinical judgment, coping, and problem-solving skills will address the critical global nursing shortage and improve the quality, safety, and access of health care worldwide.

Corresponding author: Anne-Marie Goff, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 S. College Rd., 28403, Wilmington, NC, USA, E-mail:

  1. Research funding: The study was funded by a School of Nursing grant from the John Richard Corbett Charitable Trust. The funding organization played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or the decision to submit the report for publication.

  2. Author contributions: The author has accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission, meeting all four criteria of authorship.

  3. Competing interests: The author states that there are no conflicts of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study prior to administration of surveys.

  5. Ethical approval: The research related to human use has complied with all the relevant national regulations, institutional policies, and in accordance with the tenets of the Helsinki Declaration, and has been approved by the author’s Institutional Review Board or equivalent committee. The study was approved by the University Institutional Review Board (Protocol # H-1415-054) and the School of Nursing Research Committee.


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Received: 2022-01-29
Accepted: 2023-05-01
Published Online: 2023-06-07

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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