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Are extracurricular activities stress busters to enhance students’ well-being and academic performance? Evidence from a natural experiment

Hasirumane Venkatesh Mukesh (Department of Commerce, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India)
Vrinda Acharya (Department of Commerce, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India)
Rajasekharan Pillai (School of Management, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 17 January 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023

279

Abstract

Purpose

The stress-coping model is extensively studied in the academic context. Past studies have primarily focused on different coping strategies adopted by students to overcome academic stress. However, an important question, how to equip students to cope with stress, was ignored. Drawing on stress-coping theory and the extracurricular activity (ECA) literature, the current study investigates the intervention of ECA participation on students’ coping, academic performance, and well-being in a natural setting.

Design/methodology/approach

The study follows a “cross-sectional post-test only quasi-experimental design” using a natural experimental setting.

Findings

The findings indicate that participation in ECA has a significant influence on academic outcomes. Different types of ECA participation influence well-being, whereas time spent on ECA positively affects academic performance. Further, the findings also indicate that involvement in ECA moderates the relationship between academic stress and coping.

Practical implications

The study results have practical implications for designing interventional ECA to enhance students’ academic outcomes and well-being.

Originality/value

The study indicates the effectiveness of ECA participation in dealing with academic stress and the development of constructive coping strategies. Hence, the authors advise the academic administrators to integrate ECA in the academic setting.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr Alexander Newman, Deakin University, for providing detailed feedback on previous versions of this manuscript. The authors also thank the anonymous referees for their valuable comments to improve the structure and content of the manuscript.

Citation

Mukesh, H.V., Acharya, V. and Pillai, R. (2023), "Are extracurricular activities stress busters to enhance students’ well-being and academic performance? Evidence from a natural experiment", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 152-168. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-06-2021-0240

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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