A Comparison of Learning Anxiety and Coping Mechanisms Utilized by University Students in Virtual and In-Person Courses

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The present study examined anxiety-inducing aspects of virtual learning for university students, and coping strategies that students use to cope with those aspects of virtual learning. These measures were compared to those of in-person learning, which students may generally be more accustomed to. It was hypothesized that students would more often utilize emotion-focused coping strategies in response to feelings of anxiety caused by virtual learning, and that virtual learning would be more anxiety-inducing. Additionally, we investigated students’ ratings of effectiveness of coping mechanisms in terms of reducing feelings of anxiety. The study involved 147 Oakland University students of at least 18 years of age responding to a 22-question survey involving demographic questions and Likert scale questions regarding anxiety-inducing characteristics of virtual learning, coping strategies, and their effectiveness. Findings show that although students find in-person learning to be most anxiety-inducing, they are still most willing to participate in an in-person learning environment. Additionally, students utilize a variety of coping mechanisms for in-person and virtual learning, although more of them are problem- focused.



virtual learning, anxiety, coping mechanisms, emotion-focused coping, problem-focused coping, learning anxiety, in-person learning