A Qualitative Exploratory Study of the Factors Causing Academic Stress in Undergraduate Students in Pakistan


  • Muhammad Saeed Department of Global & Social Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8439-3830
  • Zahid Ullah Department of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Malakand, Chakdara, Dir Lower, Pakistan.
  • Iqbal Ahmad Department of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Malakand, Chakdara, Dir Lower, Pakistan.




Academic Stress, Undergraduate Students, Qualitative Study, Discourse Analysis, Education in Pakistan


Academic stress is becoming an alarming mental health problem in Pakistan. The study aims to explore the causes of academic stress in the undergraduate students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Qualitative exploratory research design is adopted for this study. Data is elicited through structured-interview guide from 80 students from different study programs at the University of Malakand. Findings of the study show that nearly all (96.25%) students experienced an academic stress. Further, main causes of academic stress mentioned by students include: the lack of time management (90%); the semester system and frequent exams (86%); high study load and lengthy syllabi (80%); financial constraints (78%); favouritism and discrimination (72%); ineffective teacher-student relationship (68%); conventional and multilingual teaching style (60%); family and parental expectations (56%); and difficulty in adjustment to the university environment (44%). This study concludes that academic stress can be curbed by revamping on the identified factors, establishment of effective counselling services, and other efficient coping strategies.


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How to Cite

Saeed, M. ., Ullah, Z., & Ahmad, I. (2020). A Qualitative Exploratory Study of the Factors Causing Academic Stress in Undergraduate Students in Pakistan. Liberal Arts and Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 4(1), 203–223. https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/4.1.18