Date

3-2017

Degree Name

BS in Journalism

Department

Journalism Department

Advisor(s)

Dan Eller

Abstract

The following study investigates national trends toward increasing anxiety among the college student demographic with particular attention paid to the ways in which public awareness campaigns may be implemented as a method for reducing stigma, increasing awareness of anxiety conditions, and connecting students to critical resources.

In order to improve understanding surrounding student anxiety, the following research was conducted in two parts. First, secondary national research was conducted analyzing relevant literature surrounding anxiety trends among college students, the response of universities across the nation, and potential methods by which to relieve student anxiety. Following the conclusion of this research, primary research was conducted in the form of a single-site case study, conducted on the campus of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Analysis of data collected indicates that this institution shows anxiety levels above national averages and demonstrates a need for improvement in reducing student anxiety, reducing stigma among the campus community, and accommodating the large number of students seeking assistance with mental health concerns. In analyzing national trends alongside site-specific research, three primary recommendations were made for this institution: the implementation of a strategic public awareness campaign directed at combatting stigma, the reallocation of resources to accommodate the large number of students seeking one-on-one counseling, and the development of partnerships with alternate campus resources to help reduce student anxiety.

While this research holds direct implications for the institution in question, it also holds broader implications regarding national trends toward increasing student anxiety as well as the ways in which public awareness campaigns may be implemented in response to these trends.