The Open Psychology Journal




ISSN: 1874-3501 ― Volume 11, 2018
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Mitigating Academic Distress: The Role of Psychological Capital in a Collectivistic Malaysian University Student Sample



Ryan Yumin Chua1, 2, *, Yin Lu Ng2, Miriam Sang-Ah Park1 , 3
1 Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, Subang Jaya, Malaysia
2 Department of Psychology, HELP University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3 School of Social and Health Sciences, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, UK

Abstract

Background:

The emphasis of education within the collectivistic Malaysian culture has exposed Malaysian university students to high levels of academic stressors. The experience of stress that stems from the experience of such stressors can be positive (eustress) or negative (distress). However, the presence of adaptive abilities to academic stress may influence the experience of stress. The present study examines psychological capital as the adaptive ability to academic stress among a collectivistic Malaysian university student sample.

Methods:

This cross-sectional study was conducted with a total of 183 students from a university in Malaysia.

Findings:

Analyses showed that university students with high academic distress did not predict low academic performance; while, university students with high academic eustress predicted high academic performance. Psychological capital was found to mitigate the influence of academic distress on academic performance but not on the influence of academic eustress on academic performance.

Conclusion:

The study debunked the common misconceptions about academic stress. It highlighted that the experience of eustress and the presence of psychological capital may be an important resource for students’ stress coping.

Keywords: Collectivism, Academic stress, Psychological capital, Malaysian university students, Distress, Eustress.


Article Information


Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 11
First Page: 171
Last Page: 183
Publisher Id: TOPSYJ-11-171
DOI: 10.2174/1874350101811010171

Article History:

Received Date: 6/7/2018
Revision Received Date: 15/9/2018
Acceptance Date: 30/9/2018
Electronic publication date: 26/10/2018
Collection year: 2018

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© 2018 Chua et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


* Address Correspondence to this author at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Tel: +6016-3010320, E-mail: yumin.chua@monash/edu




1. INTRODUCTION

Education plays a vital role in facilitating personal development and providing broader career and future opportunities. The great emphasis placed on education had led to an increased experience of stress. This is prevalent among university students where they were found to be exposed to high amounts of stressors [1Adlaf EM, Gliksman L, Demers A, Newton-Taylor B. The prevalence of elevated psychological distress among canadian undergraduates: Findings from the 1998 canadian campus Survey. J Am Coll Health 2001; 50(2): 67-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07448480109596009] [PMID: 11590985] -4Faleel S, Tam CL, Lee TH, Har WM, Foo YC. Stress, perceived social support, coping capability and depression: A study of local and foreign students in the Malaysian context. Int J Psychol Behav Sci 2012; 6(1): 1-7.]. They are exposed to a wide variety of academic stressors such as continuous evaluations through exams and tests, large amounts of course material to learn, limited time to review the learnt contents, unclear assignments, excessive homework to complete and student-teacher relationship [5Conner J, Pope D, Galloway M. Success with less stress. Educ Leadersh 2009; 67(4): 54-8.-8Yusoff MSB, Abdul Rahim AF, Yaacob MJ. Prevalence and sources of stress among universiti sains Malaysia medical students. Malays J Med Sci 2010; 17(1): 30-7.[PMID: 22135523] ]. The exposure to these stressors had led them to experience high levels of academic stress.

Academic stress is defined as the state of psychological tension brought upon from academic stressors (sources of potential stress) such as exams, homework, grades and future education [9Verma S, Gupta J. Some aspects of high academic stress and symptoms. J Pers Clin Stud 1990; 6(1): 7-12.-11Sabri RA, Ghazi FG, Masroor AS, Mohamed IMK. Source of stressors and emotional disturbances among undergraduate science students in malaysia. Int J Med Res Health Sci 2014; 3(2): 401-10.[http://dx.doi.org/10.5958/j.2319-5886.3.2.082] ]. The responses to these academic stressors can yield different types of stresses such as eustress (positive stress) and distress (negative stress) [12Le Fevre M, Matheny J, Kolt G. Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress. J Manag Psychol 2003; 18: 726-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02683940310502412] , 13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.]. The ways on how these academic stresses are perceived may differ according to one’s interpretation of the stressor [12Le Fevre M, Matheny J, Kolt G. Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress. J Manag Psychol 2003; 18: 726-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02683940310502412] ]. These interpretations may be influenced by different factors such as inherent cultural values and an individual’s adaptive abilities during an experience of a stressful situation [14Keshavarz S, Baharudin R, Mounts NS. Perceived parenting style of fathers and adolescents’ locus of control in a collectivist culture of Malaysia: the moderating role of fathers’ education. J Genet Psychol 2013; 174(3): 253-70.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2012.678419] [PMID: 23991523] -16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7.]. This has raised interest on how university students from different cultural orientations would interpret academic stress and adapt to such stressful situations.

1.1. Background of Study

Malaysia is a multicultural country which comprises people from various ethnicities such as Malay, Chinese and Indian [17Shafaei A, Razak NA, Nejati M. Integrating two cultures successfully: Factors influencing acculturation attitude of international postgraduate students in Malaysia. J Res Int Educ 2016; 15(2): 137-54.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1475240916653566] ]. Over the past decade, Malaysia has allocated a substantial amount of its finances and human resources to develop a ‘world-class’ higher education in the region [18Verbik L, Lasanowski V. International student mobility: patterns and trends. World Edu News Rev 2007; 20(10): 1-16.]. Higher education institutions in Malaysia have become more competitive and have strived to improve its quality of education [19Grapragasem S, Krishnan A, Mansor AN. Current trends in Malaysian higher education and the effect of education policy and practice: An overview. Int J High Educ 2014; 3(1): 85-93.[http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v3n1p85] ]. Furthermore, Malaysia is of a collectivistic culture which places high emphasis on academic success [14Keshavarz S, Baharudin R, Mounts NS. Perceived parenting style of fathers and adolescents’ locus of control in a collectivist culture of Malaysia: the moderating role of fathers’ education. J Genet Psychol 2013; 174(3): 253-70.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2012.678419] [PMID: 23991523] , 15Mastor KA, Jin P, Cooper M. Malay culture and personality: A big five perspective. Am Behav Sci 2000; 44: 95-111.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00027640021956116] ]. This has inadvertently caused Malaysian university students to be exposed to high levels of academic stressors that could influence their experience of stress.

People from a collectivistic culture place high emphasis on interdependence, sociability and family integrity [20Triandis HC. Individualism & collectivism 1995., 21Hofstede G. Culture consequences 2nd ed. 2nd ed.2001.]. They hold high standards for academic success as they believe that academic success plays an important role in determining one’s success and is closely associated to their family’s integrity [22Cheah CSL, Leung CYY, Zhou N. Understanding “tiger parenting” through the perceptions of chinese immigrant mothers: Can chinese and U.S. parenting coexist? Asian Am J Psychol 2013; 4(1): 30-40.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0031217] [PMID: 23914284] -24Hung CY. Tradition meets pluralism: The receding confucian values in the Taiwanese citizenship curriculum. Asia Pac J Educ 2014; 35(2): 176-90.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02188791.2014.934782] ]. For example, Chinese students from a collectivistic culture believe that they have to perform well academically as it is a source of pride to the family [25Xing LF, Huang XY, Huang HX, Sanchez K, Ye R. Middle school students’ parent-related test anxiety: Comparisons between united states and china. Chin Ment Health J 2005; 19(8): 509-12., 26Yeh KH. The impact of filial piety on the problem behaviours of culturally chinese adolescents. J Psychol Chin Soc 2006; 7: 237-57.]. They would put in extra efforts, such as spending high number of hours studying and completing homework to ensure that they would be able to perform well academically [27Tan JB, Yates S. Academic expectations as sources of stress in asian students. Soc Psychol Educ 2011; 14: 389-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11218-010-9146-7] ]. For them, the failure to perform well academically would mean that they have shamed and brought down the family’s integrity [27Tan JB, Yates S. Academic expectations as sources of stress in asian students. Soc Psychol Educ 2011; 14: 389-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11218-010-9146-7] , 28Chen W. The relations between filial piety, goal orientations and academic achievement in Hong Kong. Educ Psychol 2016; 36(5): 898-915.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2015.1008404] ].

Furthermore, university students from a collectivistic culture believe that performing well academically is a symbol of filial piety to their parents, paying back for the care and nurturance given to them [25Xing LF, Huang XY, Huang HX, Sanchez K, Ye R. Middle school students’ parent-related test anxiety: Comparisons between united states and china. Chin Ment Health J 2005; 19(8): 509-12.]. Furthermore, academic success could help them ensure financial security and job security and a better career achievement in the future [22Cheah CSL, Leung CYY, Zhou N. Understanding “tiger parenting” through the perceptions of chinese immigrant mothers: Can chinese and U.S. parenting coexist? Asian Am J Psychol 2013; 4(1): 30-40.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0031217] [PMID: 23914284] , 29Vermeulen L, Schmidt HG. Learning environment, learning process, academic outcomes and career success of university graduates. Stud High Educ 2008; 33: 431-51.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075070802211810] , 30Thomas SL. Deferred costs and economic returns to college quality, major, and academic performance. Res High Educ 2000; 41: 281-313.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1007003510102] ]. These viewpoints which are instilled within the collectivistic culture may have important implications on the individual’s environment and personal systems, which to a certain extent, influence the ways on how the individual behaves. Therefore, it can be postulated that the collectivistic culture may have an influence in the interpretation of academic stressors which would influence the individual’s experience of stress.

This is similar in the collectivistic Malaysian culture which regards academic success highly. In fact, Malaysian parents, especially from the Chinese and Indian families have high expectations from their children to perform well academically [14Keshavarz S, Baharudin R, Mounts NS. Perceived parenting style of fathers and adolescents’ locus of control in a collectivist culture of Malaysia: the moderating role of fathers’ education. J Genet Psychol 2013; 174(3): 253-70.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2012.678419] [PMID: 23991523] ]. In this sense, they associate academic success to academic performance. Academic performance is defined as an individual’s accumulated results throughout the entire university semester (through class activities, assignments and examinations) [31Ong B, Cheong KC. Sources of stress among college students - The case of a credit transfer program. Coll Stud J 2009; 43(4): 1279-86.].

Acknowledging the views of the importance of academic success from the lens of a collectivistic Malaysian culture, it could be postulated that Malaysian university students are exposed to a wide variety of academic stressors. However, the ways on how these academic stressors are interpreted may lead to different types of stress experience [12Le Fevre M, Matheny J, Kolt G. Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress. J Manag Psychol 2003; 18: 726-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02683940310502412] , 13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.]. These experiences can be positive (eustress) or negative (distress) [13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.]. Eustress refers to the positive psychological response to a stressor which elicits positive outcomes such as the sense of fulfilment and exhilaration while distress refers to the negative psychological response to a stressor which leads to negative outcomes such as anxiety and anger [32Simmons BL. Eustress at work: Accentuating the positive ProQuest Dissertations Publishing 2000., 33Simmons BL, Nelson DL. Eustress at work: The relationship between hope and health in hospital nurses. Health Care Manage Rev 2001; 26(4): 7-18.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004010-200110000-00002] [PMID: 11721311] ]. Selye [13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.] suggested that the reaction to stressors with positive emotions such as gratitude, hope and goodwill would most likely maximise the experience of eustress and minimize the experience of distress. Meanwhile, the reaction to stressors with negative emotions such as hatred, hopelessness and anger would lead to the experience of distress [12Le Fevre M, Matheny J, Kolt G. Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress. J Manag Psychol 2003; 18: 726-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02683940310502412] , 13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.]. To illustrate this empirically, in their study of eustress and health among nurses, had measured eustress based on positive psychological states of hope, meaningfulness and positive affect. Findings from this study suggest that eustress can be distinguished from distress. Further, the reaction to stressors positively or negatively may lead to the experiences of eustress and distress respectively [33Simmons BL, Nelson DL. Eustress at work: The relationship between hope and health in hospital nurses. Health Care Manage Rev 2001; 26(4): 7-18.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/00004010-200110000-00002] [PMID: 11721311] ].

Hence, individuals who respond to stressors with positive emotions would most likely experience eustress, while individuals who respond to stressors negatively would experience distress [12Le Fevre M, Matheny J, Kolt G. Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress. J Manag Psychol 2003; 18: 726-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02683940310502412] ]. Given the wide variety of academic stressors experienced by university students in the collectivistic Malaysian culture, it is expected that university students who respond to academic stressors negatively would have poor academic performance [34Elias H, Wong SP, Chong MA. Stress and academic achievement among undergraduate students in universiti Putra malaysia. Soc Behav Sci 2011; 29: 646-55.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.288] , 35Harlina HS, Salam A, Roslan R, Hasan NA, Jin TH, Othman MN. Stress and its association with the academic performance of undergraduate fourth year medical students at universiti kebangsaan malaysia. Int Med J Malays 2014; 13(1): 19-24.]. Meanwhile, university students who respond to academic stressors positively are expected to perform well academically. It is important to examine eustress (i.e. positive interpretation of the stressor) among university students especially within the collectivistic Malaysian culture as these studies remain to be insufficient and scarce.

1.2. Mitigating Academic Stress

Though it is understood that the exposure to academic stressors may lead to different types of experience of stress, not all university students would succumb to the negative influences of the academic stress experienced. These university students may possess unique psychological abilities and traits that would assist them in the process of adapting to the academic stress experienced [16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7., 36Zhong L, Ren H. The relationship between academic stress and psychological distress: The moderating effects of psychological capital. International Conference on Management Science & Engineering 2009., 37Luthans BC, Luthans KW, Jensen SM. The impact of business school students’ psychological capital on academic performance. J Educ Bus 2012; 87(5): 253-9.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2011.609844] ].

Psychological capital is defined as the positive psychological state of development in a person and is characterized by having high hope, optimism, resilience and self-efficacy [38Luthans F, Avolio BJ, Avey JB, Norman SM. Positive psychological capital: Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Person Psychol 2007; 60: 541-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00083.x] , 39Luthans F, Vogelgesang GR, Lester PB. Developing the psychological capital of resiliency. Hum Resour Dev Rev 2006; 5(1): 25-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1534484305285335] ]. This concept is operationalized through the combination of hope, optimism, resilience and self-efficacy [40Peterson SJ, Walumbwa FO, Byron K, Myrowitz J. CEO positive psychological traits, transformational leadership, and firm performance in high technology start-up and established firms. J Manage Educ 2009; 35: 348-68.]. Hope refers to the motivational state in an individual that is derived from the interaction between an individual’s goals, agency and pathways [41Snyder CR. Handbook of hope 2000.]. When experiencing an obstacle, an individual with hope would be motivated to overcome the obstacle by their sense of agency (goal-directed energy) [41Snyder CR. Handbook of hope 2000.]. Their sense of agency would supplement them with the willpower and determination to allocate the necessary energy to overcome the obstacle faced [41Snyder CR. Handbook of hope 2000.]. In that sense, hope may be a positive resource that protects individuals from negative perceptions of stress [42Avey JB, Luthans F, Jensen SM. Psychological capital, a positive resource for combating employee stress and turnover. Hum Resour Manage 2009; 48(5): 677-93.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hrm.20294] ].

Meanwhile, optimism refers to the capabilities of an individual to look at the positive aspects of the events experienced [43Seligman MEP. Learned optimism 1998., 44Seligman M. Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfilment 2002.]. Individuals with high optimism would attribute the cause of positive events to be from their own abilities and values. These abilities and values would help boost their morale and self-esteem [44Seligman M. Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfilment 2002.]. This would allow them to safeguard themselves from the negative perceptions of stressors such as guilt and self-blame and subsequently perceive the obstacle experienced as something manageable [39Luthans F, Vogelgesang GR, Lester PB. Developing the psychological capital of resiliency. Hum Resour Dev Rev 2006; 5(1): 25-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1534484305285335] , 45Luthans F, Youssef CM. Human, social and now positive psychological capital management: Investing in people for competitive advantage. Organ Dyn 2004; 33(2): 143-60.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2004.01.003] ]. Similarly, resilience, which refers to the individual’s ability to bounce back from an adverse event and have a relatively positive outcome may help in protecting the individual from negative perceptions of stress [46Luthar SS, Cicchetti D, Becker B. The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Dev 2000; 71(3): 543-62.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.00164] [PMID: 10953923] ]. Individuals who are resilient are emotionally stable when they are experiencing a stressor. They are able to adapt to changing demands and are willing to explore new environments [47Tugade MM, Fredrickson BL. Resilient individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from negative emotional experiences. J Pers Soc Psychol 2004; 86(2): 320-33.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.86.2.320] [PMID: 14769087] ]. Resilient individuals will be able to perceive a stressor to be positive in nature instead of distressful as they would be able to adapt to changing demands easily.

Self-efficacy, on the other hand, refers to the individual’s confidence in his/her own capabilities to overcome any challenges [48Bandura A. Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. Am Psychol 1982; 37(2): 122-47.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.37.2.122] ]. People who are highly confident are able to persevere and overcome obstacles as they would be able to extend their motivation to put in extra effort to overcome the challenges experienced [48Bandura A. Self-efficacy mechanism in human agency. Am Psychol 1982; 37(2): 122-47.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.37.2.122] , 49Matsui T, Onglatco M. Career self-efficacy as a moderator of the relation between occupational stress and strain. J Vocat Behav 1992; 41(1): 79-88.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0001-8791(92)90040-7] ]. Hence, individuals with high self-efficacy are able to adapt to the demands and responsibilities needed by them. Although hope, optimism, resilience and self-efficacy could all influence an individual’s perception of stress separately, when these constructs are combined together, it would elicit a stronger relationship on performance and satisfaction than the individual components itself [16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7., 31Ong B, Cheong KC. Sources of stress among college students - The case of a credit transfer program. Coll Stud J 2009; 43(4): 1279-86., 38Luthans F, Avolio BJ, Avey JB, Norman SM. Positive psychological capital: Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Person Psychol 2007; 60: 541-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00083.x] ]. The combination of these constructs would form a composite concept which is reliable and robust [40Peterson SJ, Walumbwa FO, Byron K, Myrowitz J. CEO positive psychological traits, transformational leadership, and firm performance in high technology start-up and established firms. J Manage Educ 2009; 35: 348-68.].

Previous studies have examined the roles of psychological capital in the education setting and it was found that university students who possess high psychological capital were able to work as an adaptive ability to mitigate the negative influences of academic stress [16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7., 37Luthans BC, Luthans KW, Jensen SM. The impact of business school students’ psychological capital on academic performance. J Educ Bus 2012; 87(5): 253-9.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2011.609844] ] where the academic stressor is perceived to be more manageable [16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7.]. They believe that they have sufficient resources (i.e. confidence in one’s capabilities, ability to find alternative pathways) to manage the academic stressor experienced [16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7.]. However, such studies were conducted within an individualistic context [16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7., 37Luthans BC, Luthans KW, Jensen SM. The impact of business school students’ psychological capital on academic performance. J Educ Bus 2012; 87(5): 253-9.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2011.609844] ]. In the Malaysian context that practices collectivistic cultural values, Malaysian university students may possess a variety of resources such as parental and family support in approaching an academic stressor [50Chohan BI, Khan RM. Impact of parental support on the academic performance and self concept of the student. J Res Refl Edu 2010; 4(1): 14-26.]. Family members may play an active role to provide support (emotional support, assistance in assignments) to the university student to ensure that they perform well academically [50Chohan BI, Khan RM. Impact of parental support on the academic performance and self concept of the student. J Res Refl Edu 2010; 4(1): 14-26., 51Rafiq HMW, Fatima T, Sohail MM, Saleem M, Khan MA. Parental involvement and academic achievement: A study on secondary school students of Lahore, Pakistan. Int J Human Soc Sci Inven 2013; 3(8): 209-23.]. For instance, if a university student struggles in completing an assignment; the presence of family members to provide help or guidance would help the university student complete the assignment [50Chohan BI, Khan RM. Impact of parental support on the academic performance and self concept of the student. J Res Refl Edu 2010; 4(1): 14-26.]. The help and guidance provided could help improve their self-worth and self-efficacy. Furthermore, they would also be empowered with the knowledge that they would be able to seek assistance from their family members in overcoming academic stressors. Therefore, the assistance and support provided by family members may help them develop their psychological capital [16Riolli L, Savicki V, Richards J. Psychological capital as a buffer to student stress. Soc Sci Humanities 2012; 3(12A): 1202-7.].

The development of the resources of psychological capital may work as an important asset that facilitates positive meaning-making of the stressors experienced [52Bradley K. Educators' positive stress responses: Eustress and psychological capital. College of Education Theses & Dissertations 2014.]. The presence of the resources of psychological capital helps individuals understand the stressors in a positive manner. As Selye [13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.] highlighted, the experience of eustress and distress would depend on the reaction to the stressors experienced. Therefore, university students who have high psychological capital may react to the stressors in a more positive manner; maximizing the experience of eustress and minimizing the experience of distress [13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.]. Hence, it can be postulated that high psychological capital would minimize the experience of distress; thus, reducing the negative influences of academic distress. Meanwhile, high psychological capital may lead to the maximization of the experience of eustress; thus, strengthening the positive effects of eustress.

1.3. Rationale of Study

As noted above, academic success is highly regarded within the collectivistic Malaysian culture [14Keshavarz S, Baharudin R, Mounts NS. Perceived parenting style of fathers and adolescents’ locus of control in a collectivist culture of Malaysia: the moderating role of fathers’ education. J Genet Psychol 2013; 174(3): 253-70.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221325.2012.678419] [PMID: 23991523] ]. The high emphasis on academic success within this collectivistic culture would lead to the exposure of high levels of academic stressors among university students [5Conner J, Pope D, Galloway M. Success with less stress. Educ Leadersh 2009; 67(4): 54-8.-8Yusoff MSB, Abdul Rahim AF, Yaacob MJ. Prevalence and sources of stress among universiti sains Malaysia medical students. Malays J Med Sci 2010; 17(1): 30-7.[PMID: 22135523] ]. This would inevitably lead to the experience of high levels academic stress. Though exposed to high levels academic stressors, the interpretation of these stressors may lead to different experiences of academic stress [12Le Fevre M, Matheny J, Kolt G. Eustress, distress, and interpretation in occupational stress. J Manag Psychol 2003; 18: 726-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02683940310502412] , 13Selye H. Stress without distress 1987.]. As studies within the Malaysian collectivistic culture only emphasises on the experience of distress [34Elias H, Wong SP, Chong MA. Stress and academic achievement among undergraduate students in universiti Putra malaysia. Soc Behav Sci 2011; 29: 646-55.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.288] , 53Hj Ramli NH, Alavi M, Mehrinezhad SA, Ahmadi A. Academic stress and self-regulation among university students in malaysia: Mediator role of mindfulness. Behav Sci (Basel) 2018; 8(1): 1-9.[http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bs8010012] [PMID: 29342910] , 54Jia YF, Loo YT. Prevalence and determinants of perceived stress among undergraduate students in malaysian university. JUMMEC 2018; 21(1): 1-5.], it is essential to examine the experience of eustress within this unique setting. We predict that Malaysian university students who have high distress would have low academic performance while Malaysian university students who have high eustress would have high academic performance.

In addition, this study also aims to examine the roles of psychological capital as an adaptive ability to academic stress. As psychological capital may act as an important psychological ability and trait to assist the university student in adjusting to the academic stress experienced, we predict that university students who possess high levels of psychological capital will be able to adapt to the academic stress experienced. Hence, this study hypothesizes the following:

Hypothesis 1: High levels of academic distress would predict low academic performance.

Hypothesis 2: High levels of academic eustress would predict high academic performance.

Hypothesis 3: Psychological capital would mitigate the relationship between academic distress and academic performance.

Hypothesis 4: Psychological capital would strengthen the relationship between academic eustress and academic performance.

The insights obtained through the findings of this study would provide a better understanding on the types of academic stress experienced by the university students in a collectivistic Malaysian context. Secondly, it would highlight and debunk the common misconception that the experience of stress is only negative; but instead, the experience of stress could also be positive and beneficial. In addition, the findings from this study would also provide an overview on the importance of psychological capital within the education context in Malaysia. Proposals to improve educational success within the unique collectivistic Malaysian culture were also discussed.

2. METHOD

2.1. Preliminary Study

The measures used in the current study (The Distress Scale, Eustress Scale and Psychological Capital Questionnaire) was first adapted and tested in the Malaysian context as these measures were developed within the Western context. 35 undergraduate students who fulfil the inclusion criteria (second-year psychology undergraduate students) were recruited for the preliminary study to examine the validity of the measures. These students were different from the participants who participated in the actual study. The participants’ feedbacks were taken into consideration and an academic expert who is the co-author of this paper was consulted to establish clarity and face validity of the reviewed questionnaire. Amendments were made to the questionnaire after the consultation. The changes to the statements is shown in the Appendix (Tables A1-A3).

2.2. Actual Study

2.2.1. Participants

183 second-year undergraduate psychology students from a university in Malaysia were recruited. Second-year undergraduate students were recruited because they were expected to experience academic stress which stems from academic stressors (as compared to first year students who may experience non-related academic stressors such as adjusting to university life) [55Roddenberry A, Renk K. Locus of control and self-efficacy: Potential mediators of stress, illness, and utilization of health services in college students. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 2010; 41(4): 353-70.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10578-010-0173-6] [PMID: 20204497] ]. The participants were recruited through a non-probability convenience sampling method and were recruited through the distribution of sign-up sheets in their classes. These participants had a mean age of 20.85 years (SD = 1.51) with participants’ age ranging from 19 years to 32 years old. The participants’ age is not normally distributed with skewness of 3.48 (SE = .18) and kurtosis of 18.58 (SE = .36). 25.68% (n = 47) of them were males while 74.32% (n = 136) were females. In terms of their ethnicity, 75.96% (n = 139) were Chinese, 13.66% (n = 25) were Indians, 4.37% (n = 8) were Malays and 6.01% (n = 11) were of other/mixed ethnicity (i.e., Kadazan, Iban).

2.2.2. Measures

The demographic questionnaire used in the current study was a self-generated questionnaire. Participants were required to report their student ID, gender, age, race and email address.

The participants distress and eustress were measured using the Academic Distress Scale and Academic Eustress Scale. The Academic Distress Scale was used to measure distress. This measure was adapted from the Distress Scale [56O’Sullivan G. The relationship between hope, eustress, self-efficacy, and life satisfaction among undergraduates. Soc Indic Res 2011; 101: 155-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-010-9662-z] ]. The scale is reliable as it yielded Cronbach’s alpha scores of .91. The Academic Distress Scale consists of seven statements. The participants’ academic distress levels were determined based on a six-point Likert scale with one being, “False” and six being “Very True”. The scores were totalled and were divided according to the number of items in the scale to obtain the mean scores of the participant’s distress. High mean scores obtained in the Academic Distress Scale would indicate high distress.

Meanwhile, the Academic Eustress Scale was used to measure eustress. The Academic Eustress Scale was adapted from the Eustress Scale [56O’Sullivan G. The relationship between hope, eustress, self-efficacy, and life satisfaction among undergraduates. Soc Indic Res 2011; 101: 155-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-010-9662-z] ]. The scale is reliable as it yielded a Cronbach’s alpha score of .81. The Academic Eustress Scale contains fifteen items in which ten of the items measure eustress while five of the items were filler statements (scores were excluded). The participants’ academic eustress levels were determined based on a six-point Likert scale with one being, “False” and six being “Very True”. Similar to the Academic Distress Scale, the scores obtained in this scale were totalled and divided according to the number of items in the scale to obtain the mean scores of the participants’ academic eustress. High mean scores obtained in the Academic Eustress Scale would indicate high eustress. It is important to note that the Academic Distress Scale and Academic Eustress Scale used in the study were different sets of questionnaires. Separate measures were used to measure the participants’ interpretation and level of distress and eustress.

Psychological capital was measured using the adapted version of Psychological Capital Questionnaire [57Chen DJQ, Lim VKG. Strength in adversity: The influence of psychological capital on job search. J Organ Behav 2012; 33: 811-39.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.1814] ]. The questionnaire is reliable as it yielded a Cronbach’s alpha of .90. Findings from the preliminary study had shown that the statements in the adapted version of the Psychological Capital Questionnaire were suitable. The adapted version of Psychological Capital Questionnaire consists of 24 items which encompasses the following four factors, self-efficacy, hope, resilience and optimism. Each of the factors in Psychological Capital are measured by six items. The total scores obtained from the questionnaire were divided to obtain the mean scores of the participant’s psychological capital. High mean scores obtained in the adapted version of the Psychological Capital Questionnaire would indicate high psychological capital.

The participants’ semester’s academic performance was measured based on their Grade Point Average (GPA) for the current semester.

2.2.3. Procedure

The questionnaires were created on Qualtrics (an online platform which allows the gathering of data). The questionnaires were shared with the participants who were recruited via the distribution of sign-up sheets in their classes. As the participants were expected to experience high levels of academic stress in preparation of the final examination, they were directly emailed the Qualtrics link which contains the Demographic Questionnaire, Academic Distress Scale, Academic Eustress Scale and Psychological Capital Questionnaire two weeks prior to the commencement of the final exams as they are expected to experience high levels of academic stress due to the deadlines of assignments and final exams . The participants’ semester Grade Point Average (GPA) were obtained from the administrator in the Department of Psychology with the students’ explicit permission at the beginning of the new semester. The participants’ student ID was used to identify their GPA.

3. RESULTS

3.1. Descriptive Analyses

The means, standard deviations, correlations and reliability coefficients are presented in Table 1. Based on the analyses conducted, there are no significant differences between the mean scores of male and female and their academic distress (t (181) = -1.61, p > .05), academic eustress (t (181) = -.94, p > .05), and psychological capital (t (181) = -.67 p > .05). Furthermore, analyses have shown that there are no significant differences between the mean scores of the participants ethnic groups and their academic distress (F (3, 179) = .30, p > .05), academic eustress (F (3, 179) = .47, p > .05) and psychological capital (F (3, 179) = 1.93, p > .05). Descriptive data indicated that students reported high scores for academic distress (M = 3.76, SD = .94), academic eustress (M = 3.86, SD = .71), psychological capital (M = 4.00, SD = .64), and academic performance (M = 3.06, SD = .48). All the measures used in the current study (Academic Distress Scale, Academic Eustress Scale and Psychological Capital Questionnaire) yield a Cronbach’s alpha value higher than .85. In addition, reliability analysis had also shown that the adapted version of the Psychological Capital Questionnaire, which consists of all the four factors, yielded a Cronbach’s alpha of .69. Hence, the questionnaires used within the current context are reliable. The findings of the correlation analyses are presented in Table 1.

Table 1
Correlation Analysis. Means, Standard Deviations, and Correlations (N = 183).


3.2. Main Analyses

Simple linear regression analyses were conducted to examine hypothesis 1 and hypothesis 2. Gender and ethnicity were controlled in the linear regression analyses. High academic distress was found to be a non-significant predictor of academic performance, β = -.03, t = -.41, p > .05. Therefore, hypothesis 1, high levels of academic distress would predict low academic performance was rejected. The regression analysis is presented in Table 2.

Table- 2
Distress in predicting Academic Performance (N = 183).


Meanwhile, high academic eustress was found to be a significant predictor of academic performance, β = .24, t = 3.54, p ≤.001. Hence, hypothesis 2, high levels of academic eustress would predict high academic performance is supported. The regression analysis is presented in Table 3.

Table 3
Eustress in predicting Academic Performance (N = 183).


To examine the roles of psychological capital as a moderator for the relationship between academic distress on academic performance and the relationship between academic eustress on academic performance, hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted. Gender and ethnicity were also controlled in the hierarchical multiple regression analyses. Findings from the hierarchical multiple regression analysis suggest that psychological capital is a significant moderator of the relationship between academic distress and academic performance, β = .18, t = 2.63, p < .01. Therefore, hypothesis 3, psychological capital would mitigate the relationship between academic distress and academic performance is supported The regression analysis is presented in Table 4.

Table 4
Distress moderated regression results for predicting Academic Performance (N = 183).


Meanwhile, psychological capital was found not to be a significant moderator of the relationship between academic eustress and academic performance, β = -.15, t = -1.69, p > .05. Hence, hypothesis 4, psychological capital would strengthen the relationship between academic eustress and academic performance was rejected Table 5.

Table 5
Eustress moderated regression results for predicting Academic Performance (N = 183).


4. DISCUSSION

This study provides an understanding of the roles of psychological capital in mitigating the effects of academic tress and the types of academic stress experienced by university students in the Malaysian collectivistic culture. The findings imply that high levels of academic distress do not predict low academic performance while high levels of eustress predict high academic performance. Furthermore, psychological capital is found to mitigate the relationship between academic distress and academic performance but not for the relationship between academic eustress and academic performance. These findings provide a unique overview on the interpretation and views of academic stress and academic success within a Malaysian collectivistic culture.

Contrary to the findings from the study which suggest that high levels of distress would predict low levels of academic performance [34Elias H, Wong SP, Chong MA. Stress and academic achievement among undergraduate students in universiti Putra malaysia. Soc Behav Sci 2011; 29: 646-55.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.288] ], the results from the current study revealed that high levels of academic distress do not necessarily predict low academic performance. Such findings may be unique only within a Malaysian collectivistic culture as academic success is regarded highly among Malaysian families. As Hung [24Hung CY. Tradition meets pluralism: The receding confucian values in the Taiwanese citizenship curriculum. Asia Pac J Educ 2014; 35(2): 176-90.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02188791.2014.934782] ] and Triandis [20Triandis HC. Individualism & collectivism 1995.] highlighted, people from a collectivistic culture emphasizes the interest of the group over their individual interests. Therefore, these students may push themselves beyond their comfort zones, in order to protect the interest of the group. They would disregard their individual interests even if the decision may not be favourable to them. Despite experiencing high levels of academic distress, they would put in extra effort even to ensure that they will be able to attain a good academic performance.

Another plausible explanation for the inconsistent findings could be attributed to the parental and family support of the university students’ academic life [50Chohan BI, Khan RM. Impact of parental support on the academic performance and self concept of the student. J Res Refl Edu 2010; 4(1): 14-26.]. Family members may play an active role by providing adequate guidance and support (i.e., emotional support, assistance in assignments) to the university student to ensure that they perform well academically [50Chohan BI, Khan RM. Impact of parental support on the academic performance and self concept of the student. J Res Refl Edu 2010; 4(1): 14-26., 51Rafiq HMW, Fatima T, Sohail MM, Saleem M, Khan MA. Parental involvement and academic achievement: A study on secondary school students of Lahore, Pakistan. Int J Human Soc Sci Inven 2013; 3(8): 209-23.]. Furthermore, as it was previously highlighted by Triandis [20Triandis HC. Individualism & collectivism 1995.] people from a collectivistic culture place high emphasis on interdependence, sociability and family integrity. They believe that performing well academically would help determine one’s success and increase their family’s integrity [22Cheah CSL, Leung CYY, Zhou N. Understanding “tiger parenting” through the perceptions of chinese immigrant mothers: Can chinese and U.S. parenting coexist? Asian Am J Psychol 2013; 4(1): 30-40.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0031217] [PMID: 23914284] -24Hung CY. Tradition meets pluralism: The receding confucian values in the Taiwanese citizenship curriculum. Asia Pac J Educ 2014; 35(2): 176-90.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02188791.2014.934782] ]. Due to the emphasis placed on academic success by the culture, they may seek the support from their family members to ensure that they are able to perform well academically.

Meanwhile, high academic eustress was found to predict high academic performance. The current study provides a clearer understanding of the construct of academic eustress, particularly on how it relates to an individual’s academic performance. Although Malaysian university students were exposed to a wide variety of academic stressors, those who interpret the academic stressors to be positive were found to exhibit eustress and subsequently have high academic performance. This finding suggests that in a collectivistic Malaysian context, the interest of the group is emphasized over the individual interest. It can be postulated that the culture which emphasizes interdependence, sociability and family integrity may instead act as a factor that influences the university students’ interpretation of stress as eustress. The support provided by the family may help the university student develop psychological capital as well as view the academic stressors as something manageable; thus viewing the stressor as something positive. Through this, it can be acknowledged that the experience of stress does not necessarily have to be negative; instead, it could be positive where it can be beneficial and helpful in achieving academic success.

The current study also highlights the importance of psychological capital (psychological state of development with high hope, optimism, self-efficacy and resilience) [38Luthans F, Avolio BJ, Avey JB, Norman SM. Positive psychological capital: Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Person Psychol 2007; 60: 541-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2007.00083.x] , 39Luthans F, Vogelgesang GR, Lester PB. Developing the psychological capital of resiliency. Hum Resour Dev Rev 2006; 5(1): 25-44.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1534484305285335] ] as an adaptive ability to academic stress. In this study, psychological capital was found to mitigate the relationship between academic distress and academic performance. Such findings suggest that psychological capital has the potential to alleviate or shape the ways on how university students appraise and define the academic stressors experienced. In addition, psychological capital could work as an adaptive ability to mitigate the effects of academic stressors and subsequently improve academic performance. However, psychological capital does not strengthen the relationship between academic eustress and academic performance, as it was shown in the results of this study.

It can be postulated that university students who experienced high levels of academic eustress may have already been working at their optimum level of productivity and effectiveness [56O’Sullivan G. The relationship between hope, eustress, self-efficacy, and life satisfaction among undergraduates. Soc Indic Res 2011; 101: 155-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-010-9662-z] ]. Since these students have already been working at their optimum level because of the experience of eustress, the presence of psychological capital may not have any additional influence on their productivity and effectiveness.

4.1. Implications

Unlike previous studies, which mainly examined the relationship between academic distress and academic performance [34Elias H, Wong SP, Chong MA. Stress and academic achievement among undergraduate students in universiti Putra malaysia. Soc Behav Sci 2011; 29: 646-55.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.288] , 53Hj Ramli NH, Alavi M, Mehrinezhad SA, Ahmadi A. Academic stress and self-regulation among university students in malaysia: Mediator role of mindfulness. Behav Sci (Basel) 2018; 8(1): 1-9.[http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/bs8010012] [PMID: 29342910] , 54Jia YF, Loo YT. Prevalence and determinants of perceived stress among undergraduate students in malaysian university. JUMMEC 2018; 21(1): 1-5.], this study explored how academic performance can also be predicted by the positive experiences of stress within the Malaysian collectivistic culture. As little to no research has been conducted on the construct of eustress among university students [56O’Sullivan G. The relationship between hope, eustress, self-efficacy, and life satisfaction among undergraduates. Soc Indic Res 2011; 101: 155-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-010-9662-z] ], the current study provides an insight into the construct of academic eustress particularly within the educational context. Furthermore, the findings from this study provides an insight that the experience of academic stress does not necessarily have to be negative only. In addition, this study has also provided an indication on how cultural beliefs and values may have a pervasive influence on one’s interpretation of academic stress. This finding suggests that the interpretation of academic stress can be sensitive according to the cultural contexts examined.

Another important implication derived from this study is the importance of psychological capital within the educational context. Since psychological capital is found to mitigate the negative influences of academic distress to facilitate a positive outcome, it could be an invaluable adaptive ability in responding to academic stressors. This finding shows that psychological capital is able to influence the adaptation of university students in an experience of negative academic events such as exams and homework, is itself a worthy piece of information that could be used for the designing of specific intervention methods to promote psychological capital among university students such as micro-intervention sessions to develop the individual aspects of psychological capital factors [58Luthans F, Avey JB, Avolio BJ, Norman SM, Combs GM. Psychological capital development: Toward a micro-intervention. J Organ Behav 2006; 27(3): 387-93.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.373] ]. Such intervention methodologies would be helpful and beneficial for university students to overcome the negative influences of academic distress. In addition, training university students to develop high levels of psychological capital may also assist them in developing more optimistic appraisals that would be essential in assisting them to adapt to other future stressful events. Therefore, such trainings may be beneficial for these students even after they have left and completed their studies.

4.2. Limitations and Suggestions for Future Studies

Several limitations in the current study should be noted. Firstly, the researchers recognized that the self-reported nature in data collection may be susceptible to response bias issues. Measuring the participant’s academic stress levels from multiple informants could be helpful in overcoming this limitation. Furthermore, the participants recruited in the current study were only required to be Year 2 undergraduate Psychology students. However, the participants that participated in this study had an age range of 19 years to 32 years. The scores obtained from the questionnaires may be meaningfully different from a 19 year old student and a 32 year old student. Future studies could explore the possible differences between younger and older students in relation to their psychological capital.

The current study also employed a cross-sectional design which only examined the influences of academic stress on academic performance in a particular semester. It is undeniable that it was possible to predict the relationship between academic stress and academic performance; however, the researchers are unable to identify whether the participants’ academic performance was acually influenced by the experience of academic stress. To overcome this, we suggest that future studies could leverage the effectiveness of a multi-wave study and a longitudinal study. For instance, a longitudinal diary method which requires the participants to note down and report their stress levels over a period of time would allow the researchers to draw better inferences and develop a better understanding on the relationship between academic stress and academic performance.

CONCLUSION

This study provides an overview of the roles of psychological capital in mitigating the effects of academic stress within a collectivistic Malaysian culture. Findings from this study have provided evidence that high academic distress does not necessarily lead to poor academic performance and high academic eustress predicts high academic performance. In addition, this study provides a valuable insight into the importance of psychological capital in mitigating the negative influences of academic distress on academic performance. As such, the current study provides a preliminary observation on the importance of psychological capital within the education context and future research might investigate this phenomenon in greater detail.

ETHICS APPROVAL AND CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE

The study was approved by the Ethics Review Board of HELP University, Malaysia.

HUMAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS

No animals/humans were used for studies that are the basis of this report.

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

All the study participants provided written informed consent.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

APPENDIX

Table A1
Amendment to Distress Scale


Table A2
Amendment to Eustress Scale


Table A3
Amendment to Psychological Capital Questionnaire


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Declared none.

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Endorsements



"Open access will revolutionize 21st century knowledge work and accelerate the diffusion of ideas and evidence that support just in time learning and the evolution of thinking in a number of disciplines."


Daniel Pesut
(Indiana University School of Nursing, USA)

"It is important that students and researchers from all over the world can have easy access to relevant, high-standard and timely scientific information. This is exactly what Open Access Journals provide and this is the reason why I support this endeavor."


Jacques Descotes
(Centre Antipoison-Centre de Pharmacovigilance, France)

"Publishing research articles is the key for future scientific progress. Open Access publishing is therefore of utmost importance for wider dissemination of information, and will help serving the best interest of the scientific community."


Patrice Talaga
(UCB S.A., Belgium)

"Open access journals are a novel concept in the medical literature. They offer accessible information to a wide variety of individuals, including physicians, medical students, clinical investigators, and the general public. They are an outstanding source of medical and scientific information."


Jeffrey M. Weinberg
(St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, USA)

"Open access journals are extremely useful for graduate students, investigators and all other interested persons to read important scientific articles and subscribe scientific journals. Indeed, the research articles span a wide range of area and of high quality. This is specially a must for researchers belonging to institutions with limited library facility and funding to subscribe scientific journals."


Debomoy K. Lahiri
(Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)

"Open access journals represent a major break-through in publishing. They provide easy access to the latest research on a wide variety of issues. Relevant and timely articles are made available in a fraction of the time taken by more conventional publishers. Articles are of uniformly high quality and written by the world's leading authorities."


Robert Looney
(Naval Postgraduate School, USA)

"Open access journals have transformed the way scientific data is published and disseminated: particularly, whilst ensuring a high quality standard and transparency in the editorial process, they have increased the access to the scientific literature by those researchers that have limited library support or that are working on small budgets."


Richard Reithinger
(Westat, USA)

"Not only do open access journals greatly improve the access to high quality information for scientists in the developing world, it also provides extra exposure for our papers."


J. Ferwerda
(University of Oxford, UK)

"Open Access 'Chemistry' Journals allow the dissemination of knowledge at your finger tips without paying for the scientific content."


Sean L. Kitson
(Almac Sciences, Northern Ireland)

"In principle, all scientific journals should have open access, as should be science itself. Open access journals are very helpful for students, researchers and the general public including people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals. The articles are high standard and cover a wide area."


Hubert Wolterbeek
(Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

"The widest possible diffusion of information is critical for the advancement of science. In this perspective, open access journals are instrumental in fostering researches and achievements."


Alessandro Laviano
(Sapienza - University of Rome, Italy)

"Open access journals are very useful for all scientists as they can have quick information in the different fields of science."


Philippe Hernigou
(Paris University, France)

"There are many scientists who can not afford the rather expensive subscriptions to scientific journals. Open access journals offer a good alternative for free access to good quality scientific information."


Fidel Toldrá
(Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Spain)

"Open access journals have become a fundamental tool for students, researchers, patients and the general public. Many people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals benefit of them on a daily basis. The articles are among the best and cover most scientific areas."


M. Bendandi
(University Clinic of Navarre, Spain)

"These journals provide researchers with a platform for rapid, open access scientific communication. The articles are of high quality and broad scope."


Peter Chiba
(University of Vienna, Austria)

"Open access journals are probably one of the most important contributions to promote and diffuse science worldwide."


Jaime Sampaio
(University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)

"Open access journals make up a new and rather revolutionary way to scientific publication. This option opens several quite interesting possibilities to disseminate openly and freely new knowledge and even to facilitate interpersonal communication among scientists."


Eduardo A. Castro
(INIFTA, Argentina)

"Open access journals are freely available online throughout the world, for you to read, download, copy, distribute, and use. The articles published in the open access journals are high quality and cover a wide range of fields."


Kenji Hashimoto
(Chiba University, Japan)

"Open Access journals offer an innovative and efficient way of publication for academics and professionals in a wide range of disciplines. The papers published are of high quality after rigorous peer review and they are Indexed in: major international databases. I read Open Access journals to keep abreast of the recent development in my field of study."


Daniel Shek
(Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

"It is a modern trend for publishers to establish open access journals. Researchers, faculty members, and students will be greatly benefited by the new journals of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd. in this category."


Jih Ru Hwu
(National Central University, Taiwan)


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