The Effects of School and Work on College Students’ Life Satisfaction
East Los Angeles Community College
Psychology 92 Research Methods
The Effects of School and Work on College Students’ Life Satisfaction
As college students who work more than 25 hours a week, balancing school and work life is a daunting task to complete. We often find ourselves in the midst of sacrificing study time for extra work hours and vise versa. Our study aims to understand how the life satisfaction of college student’s varies, depending on whether they work full time, part time, or are unemployed. According to a report done by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, about 14 million college students are employed (Strahota, 2015). Working has become a fundamental responsibility for many college students, including undergraduate and graduate students. According to the NCES, “ In 2017, the percentage of undergraduate students who were employed was higher among part-time students (81 percent) than among full-time students (43 percent). Our study also aims to determine any underlying factors that can affect student’s life satisfaction. According to a study conducted by Lang, the more hours students work per week off campus results in less time socializing compared to students who work on campus (Lang, 2012). Lang stated, “With only so many hours in the day, something has to proverbially “give” and it appears that many students who work off-campus are willing to sacrifice time spent socializing and relaxing in return for more money” (2012). Balancing school and work can become very stressful and trying to keep up with other aspects of life adds further stress, therefore, working college students are less satisfied with their lives than non working college students.
Throughout the U.S., many college students work while attending school. Whether you work full- time or part-time, being employed helps you pay personal expenses along with school expenses. However, there are students who don’t work because they may have financial support from their parents or other sources. Most students who are full-time or part-time students are employed and it is easier for them to be susceptible to distraction because of this, leading to a stress-filled life. “The ability of university students to adapt to stressful and difficult conditions and to cope with unfavorable situations is associated with their satisfaction with life” (Temiz, 2018). Employed college students are more likely to encounter difficulties in socializing, sleeping, and in more severe cases, can even develop depression. This can lead to a decline in health status which can become concerning, and should be acknowledged in order to maintain mental and physical stability. “Adult college students who return to school have multiple factors affecting their life satisfaction such as family, work, and school. These factors were set as the predictor of students negative affect in a sample of working students from across the country” (Denning, 2018). Working students face many circumstances that make it difficult for them to accomplish their goals and responsibilities. For example, some situations that working students may face include the situation where they did not get promoted, they did not pass a test, they are not being acknowledged for their work. This can easily have a negative impact on the satisfaction they feel with how their life is going. According to the research, “Having the time of their life: College Student Stress Dating and Satisfaction with Life”, conducted by Catherine Coccia and Carol A. Darling, college students who work are less satisfied with their life due to
the lack of sleep, more stress, watching television and not socializing with people. The study shows that “college students face pressure from all elements of their environment; however, the manner in which students approach their socio physical environment may influence their overall life satisfaction” (2016). This study gives us an insight as to how there are many unseen/unaccounted for factors that play a role in life satisfaction. Comparably, the article, “Not all roles are the same: An examination between work, family, school satisfaction, social integration, and negative affect among college students” mentions how the greater amount of roles a student has, the greater their stress will be, which can result in low life satisfaction. For example, students who are trying to balance work, school, and other responsibilities may have a harder time trying to reach their life goals. Therefore, in our own study, we decided to identify how the importance of balance impacts students in terms of life satisfaction. All the evidence presented leads us to the hypothesis that college students who work either full-time or part-time are less satisfied with their lives than college students who are unemployed.
For this study, our participants will consist of East Los Angeles community college students as well as students from other community colleges and universities in the surrounding areas. We will recruit participants by sharing an online link to our survey with our peers and by posting the link on several social media outlets. We will also share the online link with coworkers who are enrolled in a community college or university. Participants must be over the age of 18 in order to take part in our study. We will not require the participants to be employed since we are testing to see how life satisfaction varies between part-time, full-time, and unemployed participants. We hope to have 150 participants take part in our online survey with an outcome of at least 100 valid surveys considering that we might receive unanswered questions or missing data from the survey.
We will be conducting an online survey to gather data for our study. The survey will consist of 40, 4-point likert scale questions (1 being “extremely disagree” to 4 being “extremely agree”), five multiple choice questions, and four open ended questions. The purpose of the survey is to measure life satisfaction and gather demographic data (see appendix B). We plan on using Cronbach’s alpha to measure the internal consistency in our data and multiple regression to predict the value of our dependent variable as well as the other variables that we will be taking into account. A consent form will be given to all participants at the beginning of the survey (see Appendix A).
In order to achieve a successful research we decided to conduct a survey design to receive accurate results. The survey will include 40 four-point likert scale questions, six multiple choice, and four open ended questions in order to measure life satisfaction within college students. We decided to use a convenience sampling method in order to select our participants. Our independent variables are college students who work either full time, part time, or are unemployed. Our dependent variable is life satisfaction. We will also be testing to see if other factors, aside from employment status, affect students’ life satisfaction, for example: age, gender, and social life. The degree of sincerity of the students surveyed will be a variable affecting the study. We will use multiple regression to find those how closely items are related in the study.
Before beginning the online survey that we will be providing, the participants will be given a consent form which will inform them of what our study is about and the role that they will be taking if they decide to participate. The participants will then complete our online survey. The survey itself is expected to last for about 25-30 minutes. All data collected will be saved on the online database so that it can be analyzed. We will keep in mind the possibility of receiving surveys that are incomplete and/or the participant didn’t meet the proper requirements in order to be part of the study, therefore, we hope that at least 100 valid surveys will be analyzed. We will use SPSS to analyze the information we receive from the questionnaire and use multiple regression analysis to analyze the links between independent and dependent variables along with their relationship to validate our hypothesis.
Coccia, C., & Darling, C. A. (2016). Having the time of their life: College student stress, dating
and satisfaction with life. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 32(1), 28–35. https://doi-org.libproxy.elac.edu/10.1002/smi.2575
Denning, E. C., Brannan, D., Murphy, L. A., Losco, J. A., & Payne, D. N. (2018). Not All Roles
Are the Same: An Examination Between Work-Family-School Satisfaction, Social Integration and Negative Affect Among College Students. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 23(2), 166–178. doi: 10.24839/2325-7342.jn23.2.166
Employment and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Jenkins, S. R., Belanger, A., Connally, M. L., Boals, A., & Durón, K. M. (2013).
First‐generation undergraduate students’ social support, depression, and life satisfaction. Journal of College Counseling, 16(2), 129–142.
Lang, B. K. (2012, May 31). The Similarities and Differences between Working and
Non-Working Students at a Mid-Sized American Public University. Retrieved from
Strahota, H. (n.d.). Seventy Percent of College Students Work While Enrolled … Retrieved from
Temiz, Z. T., & Comert, I. T. (2018). The relationship between life satisfaction, attachment
styles, and psychological resilience in university students. Dusunen Adam: The Journal
of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences, 31(3), 274–283. Doi: 10.5350/dajpn2018310305.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine whether workin
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