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Exploring the Impact of Covid-19 on academic motivation and perceived stress among undergraduate students’ in Malaysia

Roslee Ahmad1*, Suhada Md Noor2, Lokman Mohd Tahir3, Nasir Yusoff4, Sapora Sipon5, Salleh Amat6

1,2,5Faculty of Leadership and Management, UniversitiSains Islam Malaysia email1*: [email protected]

3Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, UniversitiTeknologi Malaysia

4School of Medical Sciences, UniversitiSains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian

6Faculty of Education, UniversitiKebangsaan Malaysia


This study aimed to examine the relationship between academic achievement and perceived stress amongst undergraduate students during Covid-19 pandemic. Two variables were involved namely academic achievement and perceived stress. This study involved descriptive and inferential statistics analysis. The study samples involved final year students in a Malaysian public university from 5 different programs of studies. 150 respondents were chosen based on a simple random technique from 250 population amongst undergraduate students. The students are identified as respondents that stay in campus for a period of 3 months during Movement Control Order (MCO). Questionnaires of Academic Motivation Scale (AMS-C28) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) by Vallerand (1992) were used with Cronbach alpha 0.85. The results showed that both genders affected the high level of academic motivation and low level of perceived stress. While based on genders there was no significant difference between academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order amongst the students. The relationship between academic motivation and perception was also no significantly correlated during faced with these situations. In further research, researchers suggested to obtain a larger sample and involving diversity of programs from Faculties to gain a robust data and this may contribute to a better finding in the future.


Academic Motivation; Perceived Stress; Undergraduates Students; Programs


Today, the Covid-19 pandemic is a threat that has indirectly resulted in significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, which has adversely affected the environment and sociality. According to Mohammed et. al., (2020), the spread of the virus affects not only the economy but also the education system and the effects of the pandemic spread to all educational institutions around the world as lockdown, force isolation, physical distance, and quarantine were imposed by different countries to control the spread. Nicomedes and Avila (2020), the rapid spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic, stated that people around the world express panic in various behaviors such as policies and guidelines, to reduce the interaction of people who can spread the virus.

UNESCO reports indicate that in more than 160 countries, national closures of educational institutions have been implemented and that about 1,524,648,768 students were affected by the covid-19 virus, representing 87.1% of UNESCO's total enrolled students (2020); Abidah et. al., (2020). Mental illnesses were reported to be responsible for 8.6% of total in 2016, according to the Malaysian Mental Healthcare Report. It can be projected that only certain estimates for the most recent Covid-19 pandemic will increase significantly.

The psychological well-being of students has been so fascinating over the last few years. The years of an individual's university are more demanding both emotionally and psychologically


than the almost educational stage. At this stage, an individual faces many pressures and problems that pose a variety of physical, social, and emotional challenges, Rodgers & Tennison, (2009).

According to Rice (1999), stress or stressful conditions arising from these three factors are the presence of situational (event) and environmental factors that cause stressful situations (the external component), the product of emotional reactions that occur (also known to be the inner or mental component), and the physical reaction of the body.

According to Mazni et. al., (2004), students in Malaysia are often confronted with anxiety and stress, and this condition continually occurs (in various ways) at some time in the study cycle.

Because of numerous things that need to be performed regularly, such as subject assignments, co- curriculum events, handling daily personal interactions, and much more, they will never reach any calm state. The mental health of the student will be harmed by uncontrolled anxiety and stress. Ministry of Health Malaysia, (2008) study found that education status is a deciding factor in the level of mental well-being where the highest score in the sample (indicating the prevalence of elevated mental health issues) is typically correlated with those with no background in education or poor history. Besides, this report further reported that adolescents between the ages of 16 and 24 and those with poor mental well-being rates showed a higher probability of committing suicide. According to Hisham (2020) said for each suicide cases, it was estimated that about 20% of family members and youths were been impacted emotionally, socially and economically. In 2017, National Health and Morbidity (NHM) study found there was a rising trend in suicide among youths aged 13 to 17. In fact, NHM reported that in 2017 about 10 per cent of youths had suicidal thoughts compared with 7. 9 per cent in 2012. This is added that report The World Health Organisation (WHO) recorded suicide cases as the second highest cause of death among youths aged between 15 and 19 years old. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the rate of Malaysian youth who suffer from mental health problems doubled in less than a decade from 10% in 2011 to 20% in 2016 (Hezmi, 2018).

There are various risk factors that lead to suicide attempts such as factor of psychiatric disorders, substance use, psychosocial factor, family history and biological factor (Karaman &

Durukan, 2013). However, local study reported that factors of anxiety, depression and low self- confidence as contributors to suicide ideation or attempt to suicide amongst youths (Norbaiyah.et.

al., 2018).

It was found that the predominance of anxiety amongst Malaysian youth are high with the prevalence ranging from 33% to 76.2%. This is further proven by another research that found the incidence of anxiety among Malaysian youths was higher when compared to stress and depression (Alawad, 2017). Consequently, anxiety is a psychological factor that contributes greatly to the general mental well-being of youths. Furthermore, there are several other factors that also contribute to Malaysian youths‟ level of anxiety. The study revealed based on gender, female students exhibited higher level of anxiety compared to male students. (Saravanan &

Wilks, 2014).

A national Movement Control Order (MCO, i.e. lockdown) was declared on 18 March 2020 to control the viral outbreak had not only limit the students movement but also restriction towards student life, movement and common life style. This may influences students‟ psychological, stress, and emotional disorders especially those who stay in campus and far from families. In a longitudinal study of Hawaiian secondary school students showed that self-reported depressive symptoms resulted in subsequent poor academic achievement (Kessler, 2012). This is consistent with the findings of Humensky et. al., (2010) who found that self-reported depressive symptoms were associated with concentration difficulties and trouble with completing school tasks, in 83 students from the United States between the ages of 14–21, and at-risk for major depression.


Student motivation is subjective and highly dependent on the environment. In an individual, motivation is a strong desire or passion that encourages the individual to try and do something to succeed. It is a structure constructed from individual learning activities and experiences and varies from one situation or context to another Bandura (1997). Thus, the present study of the relationship between movement control order, academic motivation, and stress. According to Ahmet Haktan (2019), academic motivation in education is an important concept because it produces important factors in a student's academic career that contribute to satisfaction, progress, and achievement. Martina Blašková (2019) said based on current knowledge and experience of the university environment, academic motivation can be perceived from three basic points of view. For example, according to Karagüven (2012), these are factors like effectively leading himself/herself of student, planning and monitoring skills, and evaluating his/her behaviors, apprehension, and learning strategies.

The key factor in keeping students in their learning process is motivation, and the most important factor influencing academic success is, Pintrich et. al., (1994). A motivated student is responsible for his education, thinks positively, and is always eager to learn about Ross (1999).

Motivation is considered one of the most important foundations for the academic growth of students, Steinmayr & Spinath (2009). This generally argues that in determining student achievement, motivation plays a very important role. Motivation can therefore be a motivator and a desire to do learning activities, but it can also be one of the main factors influencing the learning process and it is difficult to implement the learning process without motivation.

Taking into consideration the movement control order (MCO) and quarantine situation, the researcher decided to do evaluate the current study on the relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress among undergraduate students at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Nilai. This study seeks to observe different points which are to examine academic motivation levels and perceived stress, to determine the differences of academic motivation and perceived stress based on genders. The last one is to see the relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress. This study may help in providing knowledge and awareness for students and other parties on information relating to academic motivation and perceived stress relations during movement control order. The finding may also encourage further study in the related areas to be conducted in the future. The presented facts in this paper highlight the necessity to conduct such a study that focused on understanding the relations between perceived stress and academic motivations amongst students during this pandemic season.

Research Objectives

The general objective of this research;

a. To identify the level of academic motivation among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO).

b. To identify the level of perceived stress among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO).

c. To examine the differences between academic motivations and perceived stress among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO) based on genders.

d. To examine the relationship between academic motivations and perceived stress among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO).


a. What is the level of academic motivation among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO)?


b. What is the level ofperceived stress among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO)?

c. If there any significant differences between genders on academic motivations and perceived stress among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO) based on genders?

d. If there any relationship between academic motivations and perceived stress among undergraduate students during movement control order (MCO)?

Literature Review

The level of academic motivation and perceived stress

Students may be more impacted or exposed without motivation in postponing tasks that have become increasingly prevalent among students in recent years, and this activity can be connected to academic motivation that contributes to acute stress among them. Studies on academic analysis of academic motivation, procrastination, and stress among university students by Syed Zafar and Gulfisha (2018). The sample size consists of a total of 100 students divided into two groups, 50 male and 50 female students selected from Aligarh Muslim University by a convenient sampling procedure. This research shows that females are higher in academic motivation and all dimensions than males, while males are higher than females in procrastination activity and stress. However, student stress experience data can help college and university administrators create more productive ways to cope with the stress of their students in the future, such as increasing the use of stress management, assertiveness skills, time management, and therapy sessions to deal with the stress of students. But, students would have poorer mental wellbeing and poorer mental health if stress is not well handled.

Depending on the qualification and background in education, it is up to successful people with high motivation. The most critical role of educational institutions is to build and provide students with a conducive learning environment to succeed. Based on Özlem Keskin and Abdulmenaf Korkutata (2018) in reviewing academic motivation levels of students‟ study in different faculties using a descriptive study conducted using a screening model. During the 2016- 2017 academic year, a total of 1325 students (519 female, 806 male) studying in various faculties (sports sciences, engineering, tourism, business administration, communication, economics, and sciences) of Sakarya University participated voluntarily in this research. The questionnaire (survey) approach was used to collect information. Statistically significant differences (p>0.01) were observed between sub-dimensions of academic motivation, based on age span, gender, classes, and departments. It is assumed that it would be useful to correlate these variations with various variables to identify the causes of the differences. Since the level of motivation is positively and negatively affected by several internal and external variables. Eliminating issues by defining the variables will lead to increasing students' motivation levels, and the success rate often increases accordingly. To sustain their performance and develop their futures, motivation is, therefore, an important factor for students, Gonda (2017). The studies evaluated that motivation can be positively or negatively by many factors. By specifying their negative sides, it is necessary to boost the motivation level of students. Also, resources should be given to establishing sufficient conditions for students to excel by removing the state of motivation. Therefore, through preparing more detailed studies, the degree of relationship and impact can be found in terms of various variables; the levels of motivation that students need can be provided in this way.


Besides, organized training and workshops can be held for students to learn ways to improve their levels of motivation.

In the lives of students, stress is an unavoidable phenomenon. Stress may emerge from both academic and non-academic factors in the academic environment. Socio-cultural and psychological qualities are included in these. Sources of stress in the academic setting may include difficulty dealing with a new environment, the scope and workload of the course of study, relationships with other students, student expectations of parents and teachers, as well as their expectations of academic success. Stress may have either a positive or negative impact on the academic performance of a student. Minimal stress levels can lead to positive effects, such as motivation and increased task performance, while extreme stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and social dysfunction. Based on a study by Aihie and Ohanaka (2019) in research to investigate the levels of perceived academic stress among undergraduate students in a University in Nigeria.

For the selection of three faculties from the fourteen university faculties, purposeful sampling was used. To select 427 undergraduate students from the three departments to participate in the analysis, simple random sampling was used. The results showed that male undergraduate students show a high level of academic stress than females. Undergraduate students have recorded substantially higher levels of academic stress in the Faculty of Physical Sciences than students in the Faculties of Education and Social Sciences. In the first and middle years of study, final year students also reported higher academic stress than students. Based on the students' age, there was no difference in perceived academic stress levels. It was concluded that student gender, level of study, and course of study affect the perception among undergraduate students of academic stress. Implications for the counseling of students were discussed. It can be inferred from the results of the study that the perception of academic stress is affected by the gender of the respondent, the course of study, and the degree or year of study among undergraduate students. It can also be inferred from the results of the study that age does not affect the perception of academic stress among undergraduate students, but often stress relating to the expectations of educational objectives as a threat brings stress that generates a feeling of hopelessness that leads to lower academic achievement.

Stress typically affects a wide variety of demographic groups without regard to age, gender, educational status, or socioeconomic status. It is not surprising that much of the college- level academic stress is linked to what students‟ study and how they learn it. As stated by Dawit Yikealo (2018) in exploring the level of stress among the College of Education (CoE) students in Eritrea Institute of Technology. The present study was descriptive analysis in which a survey approach was used to gather quantitative data. A total of 123 students enrolled in the second, third, and fourth-year degree and diploma programs. The findings showed that the students had a moderate level of stress. Academic and environmental stressors were found to contribute most to the stress level of the students from the five domains. Also, the stress levels of the students were found to have no statistically significant ties with their gender and grade point average. It is also important to remember that a certain amount of stress is required for students in such a way that it actively motivates students to advance on their academic path, otherwise inactive and uninterested creatures would be. It also demonstrated that environmental and academic stress components among the students were found to be higher and this important to students take concrete steps towards the improvement of the the learning environment and subsequently mitigating the adverse impact of stress on students‟ wellbeing and learning outcomes.

Previous research shows that the impact of stress on students in secondary school and higher education by Michaela C. Pascoe (2019) stated that students in secondary and tertiary education settings face a wide range of ongoing stressors related to academic demands. This


narrative review presents the most recent research concerning the impact of academic-related stress, including discussion of the impact on students‟ learning capacity and academic performance, mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, sleep disturbances, and substance use. This narrative review highlights that academic-related stress is a major concern for secondary and tertiary students. The ongoing stress relating to education has demonstrated a negative impact on students‟ learning capacity, academic performance, education, and employment attainment, sleep quality and quantity, physical health, mental health, and substance use outcomes. Increasing students‟ stress-management skills and abilities is an important target for change. The academic-related stress experienced by students in education is cross-cultural and widespread and is of international concern. This reviewed studies that demonstrated a range of negative effects of academic-related stress, highlighting the potential broad spectrum of benefits that may result from the implementation of stress-management interventions. Therefore, the most appropriate approaches to stress management education may differ between the years of early high school and tertiary education because ongoing stress related to education has shown a negative impact on the learning capacity of students, academic performance, achievement of education and employment, quality and quantity of sleep, physical health, mental health, and drug use outcomes.

In conclusion, the academic motivation of a student‟s life should be taken seriously to prevent students from getting caught up in perceived stress. In the other words, students need to play their role and function properly in shaping the best environment to create an effective learning process in any situations during movement control order (MCO) because we do not know when it will end. Lack of academic motivation will have a lasting impact on the psychological well-being of students throughout the learning process due to the very difficult situations at present.

The differences of academic motivation and perceived stress based on genders

Men and women tend to react to stress differently, with women being more likely to experience the event as stressful. The findings of the study Roussy et. al., (2017) on motivation and coping with the stress of assessment: Gender differences in outcomes for university students.

Structural equation modeling and measurement equivalence with a sample size of 265 were used to evaluate results, 151 of which were males and 114 were females. The students were 16-30 years of age. This study showed that, through higher stress evaluations and the use of disengagement-oriented techniques to cope with the stress, regulated motivation predicted more negative results. The gender differences observed in this study demonstrate the possible divergent processes that men and women experience when faced with difficult academic circumstances. In particular, this research highlighted the distinctive positions of disengagement-oriented methods in male and female prediction of academic performance. The use of disengagement-coping techniques was especially detrimental to the academic transition of male students. As a result of using such strategies, saw their grades drastically decrease. In conclusion, strong support for a model in educational contexts that connects motivation, coping, and performance. For students in higher education, assessments are inherently stressful and this study demonstrates adaptive and maladaptive pathways to academic outcomes.

Motivation has been one of the essential skills in the process of education. The explanation is that the level of encouragement for students to complete a professional and productive learning process is influential. In the research, Vallerand et al., (1992) find academic outputs vary by the difference in motivation level. The findings of the studies conducted by Turhan (2020) in research a meta-analysis study on the results of the studies on the effect of


gender on academic motivation in Turkey between 2004 and 2019. A generalizable result is achieved by integrating the results of the studies on a specific subject in the studies where this method is used, Littel, Corcoran, and Pillai (2008). The meta-analysis studies aim to identify the effect values through the data obtained from the studies on a particular subject and to carry out the appropriate analysis for the study using the quantitative data obtained from the studies, Cohen, Manion & Morrison (2001). According to the findings of this study, gender has a significant effect on academic motivation. In an examination of the effect size, it was concluded that the effect size is found insignificant (Cohen d ≤ .20) according to the limits set for interpretation of the effect sizes and the standardized mean differences of Cohen‟ (1988). It was also concluded that gender in the studies did not have a significant effect on academic motivation. Overall, the data reported in the study was obtained from 3017 students. 1428 of these are male and 1589 are female. It was concluded, based on the findings of the study, that gender has a significant effect on the sub-dimensions of academic motivation. In the examination of the effect size, by the limits set for the interpretation of the effect sizes and the standardized mean differences of Cohen (1988), the effect of Cohen d≤ 0,20 was found to be insignificant.

Motivation can therefore include different procedures, such as focusing on a particular subject and developing plans, as there is no drive to approach an object without a drive for motivation.

A major experience of students from high school to university or college. It gives them many possibilities for psychological growth and learning experiences. However, several stressful circumstances in their lives are also caused by this transition. Growing evidence suggests that various types of situations stress women and men. According to Anbumalar et. al., (2017) in study gender differences in perceived stress levels and coping strategies among College Students.

The study population included college students between the ages of 18-22 from different colleges. Stratifies and a simple random sampling method were used to select a sample consisting of 80 respondents (40 males and 40 females) and sampling convenience was used. In comparison to male undergraduate students, females had high levels of stress. The results of this study also indicated that male participants differed significantly from female participants in stress coping scores. This study found that male students are more likely than female students to use a better strategy for coping with stress. To help mitigate the level of stress facing students, the college administration needs to increase counseling services. Students should be taught appropriate coping skills to help them avoid maladaptive coping skills, or interventions can be developed to help students cope with stress better.

Stress has also been a part of our lives, affecting us both mentally and physically. Stress has many negative effects on females and males, and under different stress factors, people react differently. The academic stress experienced by male and female students could be affected by different personality factors and learning strategies, Niemi & Vainiomäki (2006). Based on Tuncay et.al, (2020) in research educational stress, social stress and gender differences among university students involve 346 undergraduate students studying at Cyprus Health and Social Sciences University were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire, which was distributed at the end of lectures for each of the academic years. As result, it is noted that over 50 % of students have educational stress as the most stressful year of the faculty appeared as the 1st year.

Female students had higher "Sleeping Routine" and "Visiting Parents Frequency" levels of stress than male students. Male students were more stressed than female students over "Lack of Confidence," "Exams after Graduation," and "Difficulty of Courses." Therefore, the causes of psychological stress are multifactorial and numerous in students. However, the challenging university environment and demographic variables are associated with them. Stressors may also


vary among students facing these conditions by individual attitude, beliefs, and cultural background.

In academic institutions, stress is an important issue and can harm overall academic performance. Research by Harutyunyan et.al., (2020) on gender differences in the perceived level of stress among Armenian undergraduate students. Among undergraduate students recruited by non-random convenience sampling, a cross-sectional survey was conducted. The study used a structured questionnaire to conduct interviews face to face. The findings showed that more than half of the participants (59.5%) were female. The result revealed that medium stress levels (self- perceived mean stress score=-5.8) are experienced by 46.0% of students. Only 21.6% perceived themselves to have elevated levels of stress; however, 79% showed that about one-third had elevated stress. The perception of female participants being highly stressed and having a high stress level was comparable 28.8% and in contrast fewer males were perceived to be highly stressed that showed 13.3%. In short, the level of stress turned out to be the most prevalent and serious problem for college students, particularly for female students; while during college, stress was also found among male students. Colleges should therefore pay special attention to the mental conditions of students and encourage them to express their feelings and, if necessary, seek professional help. Male and female students must always be aware to control their stress when facing any crisis or situation either then ignored that feeling because the others problem will be affected in the future later on.

The relationship of academic motivation and perceived stress

In critical circumstances, motivational factors are a significant factor in stress among students, especially in their learning process. Several studies have shown that motivation is a protective factor for students' psychological well-being. Based on Tus (2020) who conducted the study regarding academic stress, academic motivation, and its relationship on the academic performance of the senior high school students in a Catholic School in Bulacan, Philippines.

The respondents' total population was 130. The research used a descriptive-correlational approach to examine the students' stress and motivation and their relationship with their academic performance. The data was gathered through the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS). The results of the study showed that the stress and motivation of students were average and above average, respectively. Moreover, the students' academic performance was largely adequate and quite satisfying. Also, the study found that stress and motivation do not have a major relationship with the academic success of students. Therefore, to reduce their stress level, students should also continue their ways of coping, such as hobbies, and their motivation must also be held above average because it pushes them to meet their needs and develop. After all, better academic performance brings better opportunities in life.

Stress is one of the variables which may relate to the academic performance of students.

Along with it academic motivation also came to light in the last decade. The motivation which drives our actions can be variable as Intrinsic, Extrinsic, or a motivation. According to Shah et.

al, (2017) in the research of the relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress in medical beginners. It was a cross-sectional study conducted involved 140 First-year M.B.B.S students in 2016 who were volunteered and gave consent were recruited in the study. This research found that among recruited participants 43.57% were males and 56.43% were females.

Mean Perceived Stress score in the stressed and non-stressed group was 21.54±5.31 and 10.47±1.55 respectively and significantly higher in stressed students compare to non-stressed students (p<0.001). Therefore, this study confirms that the prevalence of perceived stress is high


among medical students and this may be due to their low motivation. This showed the relationship between academic achievement, motivation and stress possess a linear connection that intercorrelate to each study variables.

To ensure that students continue to aspire for the best job and prepare themselves for potential jobs, academic motivation is also very important. A study done by Çetinkaya (2019) stated the academic motivation and career stress relationships among students in the department among Physical Education and Sports Academies from AhiEvran University, Erciyes University, Dumlupınar University, and Çanakkale 18 Mart University attended by 527 students Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed to reveal the factor structures of academic motivation and career stress scales. The descriptive screening method was followed by two phases in which the theoretical structure was built on the subject in the first phase of the study and the questionnaires were developed in the second phase of the analysis to achieve the objective by systematically presenting the knowledge available by searching the relevant literature. As a result, there was no significant difference between academic motivation and work stress in all dimensions concerning gender and professional sportsmanship variables among participants. There was, however, a significant gap in the average scores of established extrinsicmotivations, extrinsic motivation management, workplace instability, job anxiety, and workplace stress in terms of grade variables. There was a strong negative correlation between student excitement and the work stress rates of the participants, according to the results of the regression analysis carried out. Given the conclusions we obtained from the results, precautions should be taken to support the career plans of students and provide their encouragement for learning, and this mechanism should be encouraged.

Undergraduate students usually deal with their first separation from home for an independent personal life as well as planning for professional careers. They face challenging shifts in psychology and psychosocial, Chow & Healey (2008). As stated by Huang et. al., (2016) in examining the effect of intrinsic academic motivation and interpersonal conflict on the perceived depression and stress among undergraduate students from the medical school of a university locating in North China involves 537 Chinese students. The analysis was carried out in quantitative terms by the university tutors who administered the questionnaires. Results showed that intrinsic academic motivation was negative with depression and stress, while the interpersonal conflict was positive. Besides, the relationship was significant: the negative correlation between "intrinsic academic motivation and depression" and "intrinsic academic motivation and stress" was weaker among respondents who registered higher (vs. lower) interpersonal conflict levels. For students high in intrinsic motivation, it is possible that witnessing high interpersonal conflict will reduce the time students experience the intrinsic pleasure of learning. Therefore, while intrinsic motivation can contribute to positive results when interpersonal conflict is strong, its positive impact can decrease (vs. low). This suggests that it may be necessary for intrinsic motivation to take place to ensure a supportive interpersonal relationship.

Theoretical framework Needs-Based Theories

Need theories, also known as content theories, are the source of many other theories and approaches to motivation. These theories rotate around the inner state of satisfaction of a person and examine the reasons and needs of the person that affect motivation. The hierarchy of needs


(Maslow, 1943) is a motivational theory that is highly considered about Maslow's Need- Hierarchy Theory. The hierarchy of needs includes five levels of fundamental needs of an individual that are physiological, safety, social belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

Maslow argues that a person must first satisfy the previous lower level of needs before moving to the next higher level. To achieve better performance and satisfaction, Maslow believes that the five needs are essential.

Psychodynamic Theory

The psychodynamic theory originates from Freud's psychoanalytic ideas of human behavior.

Freud often argued that neurotic signs or abnormal actions were representations of the inner motors of an individual and that these forms of activities acting out should be viewed as "the imperial path to an awareness of the unconscious" (Freud, 1900). This view means that every neurotic behavior or act has a reason behind it. Repetition of certain unhealthy behaviors indicates the presence of unique emotional undercurrents that underlie decision-making and behavior. Many scholars, influenced by Freud's contributions, applied aspects of the psychodynamic paradigm to the workplace by claiming that the leader's inner world was extremely influential to his early childhood experiences, and related hopes, fears, and desires, even at the organizational level, and should not be ignored (Erikson, 1950). Freud suggested psychosexual developmental phases in 1903, for example genital, vaginal, oedipal, embryonic, and phallic. The growing stage was posited to lead to a particular form of distress due to the various developmental activities.

Cognitive Behavioural Theraphy (CBT)

The approaches to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are rooted in the fundamental principle that cognitions of an individual play a major and primary role in the development and maintenance of emotional and behavioral responses to life situations. Prendes et. al., (2012).

Throughout CBT theories, cognitive mechanisms are the main determinants of one's emotions and behavior about life experiences in the context of interpretations, perceptions, appraisals, and expectations correlated with actual life events and therefore can promote or impede the cycle of adaptation. CBT has focused on the premise that something connects with how we perceive (cognition), how we react (emotion), and how we behave (behavior). Specifically, our thoughts determine our feelings and our behavior. CBT seeks to help us become mindful of harmful perceptions and action habits that reinforce skewed thought. Cognitive counseling lets individuals establish new forms of thought and action directed at rising their social suffering. Besides, cognitive behavioral therapy is a paragliding word with several specific treatments that share many similar elements. Some of the first methods of cognitive-behavioral counseling were logical emotional behavioral therapy (REBT) introduced in the 1950s by Albert Ellis and cognitive therapy developed in the 1960s by Aaron T. Beck.


This study used a quantitative research design to acknowledge the study on academic motivation and perceived stress. According to Aliaga and Gundersin (2000), quantitative research is referring to collect numerical data and the data will be analyzed using mathematically based methods where it is in statistics form. Plus, Babbie and Earl (2010) stated that regarding quantitative data where it is a research design that emphasizes objective measurements and numerical analysis of data collected through questionnaires or surveys. Quantitative research


focuses on gathering numerical data and generalizing it according to the samples research.

Quantitative research is educational research which is the respondent will give the questionnaire and then collecting data and analyze the data without bias manner (Neuman, 2014).

A population is a group of the potential participant to whom you want to generalize the result of the study (Salkind, 2009). Sampling is a process of selecting several individuals for a study in such a way that they represent the large group from which they were selected (Gay &

Airasian, 2000). Overall sampling in this study was 150 respondents that been selected through random sampling technique from population 250 respondents. According to Krejie and Morgan (1970) the appropriate population of 250 is 150 respondents. Therefore, researcher believe that the portion of samples adequate and fulfil the proportion that suggested by Krejie and Morgan (1970). The samples were involved undergraduate students in University Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) at Faculty Leadership and Management. They were amongst final year students that were taken randomly from 5 social sciences program involved Counseling, Communication, Dakwah, Art and New Media. Generally, ratio of the 150 samples represent were 70 males and 80 females.

This category of students were the samples that amongst students who facing movement control orders and remain in campus for a period of 3 months. In this study, the researchers used a set of questionnaires as research tools to measure the academic motivation scale and perceived stress scale. Tuckman (1994) and Ahmad (2011, 2013) stated that questionnaires are used by researchers to convert information obtained from subjects to data forms.

The content of this questionnaire is divided into three sections, parts A, B and C.Part A, contains a set of demographic related to respondent background information‟s. The questions are age, gender, and courses. Part B is related to Academic Motivation Scale, College 28 (AMS-C 28; Vallerand, Pelletier, Blais, Brière, Senécal, & Vallières, 1992). This part contains 28-item to measure seven-point Likert type scale (anchored by 1=disagree to scale 7= most agree). This construct is to measure motivation, extrinsic motivation, and intrinsic motivation for college students. Internal consistency for the constructs are for Internal Motivation subscale is 0.86 and for the Extrinsic Motivation subscales is 0.83.

Meanwhile for Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) Perceived Stress Scale-10 (PSS-10) is used to measure the degree to which one perceived one‟s life as stressful. Participants are asked to respond to each question on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (never) to 4 (very often), indicating how often they had felt stressed within the past month. The scores ranged from 0 to 40, where higher scores indicated greater perceived stress. Six out of the 10 items of PSS-10 are considered negative (1 - 3, 6, 9, 10), and the remaining four as positive (4, 5, 7, 8) which represented 'perceived distress‟ and 'perceived coping' respectively. The PSS-10 had demonstrated good internal (intra-observer) reliability with Cronbach‟s alphas ranging from 0.78 to 0.91 and test-retest reliability coefficients ranging from 0.55 to 0.85. The Malay version of PSS-10 used in this project was the same version used in a previous study. The process of translation and validation of the Malay version was summarized in the prior article. The factor analysis of the Malay version of PSS-10 showed two latent factors (positive and negative) and the test-retest analysis was also found of good reliability. The negative factor was named 'perceived distress' while the positive factor was named „perceived coping'. The PSS-10 has 10 items on a 5- point Likert scale (0 = never, 1 = almost never, 2 = sometimes, 3 = fairly often, 4 = very often).

Four positively stated items (item 4, 5, 7, and 8) are reversely scored (0 = very often, 1 = fairy often, 2 = sometimes, 3 = almost never, 4 = never). The sum of the 10 items represents the total score, with higher scores representing higher levels of perceived stress.


Pilot Study

A pilot test was conducted among 30 respondents of males and females at the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), Nilai. According to Connelly (2008), extant literature suggests that a pilot study sample should be 10% of the sample projected for the larger samples study.

According to Majid Konting (2000), the best sampling is the sampling that can represent 10% of the total population. This fact was parallel with Isaac (1995) that recommended 10 – 30 participants for initial study is sufficient. The reliability of the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS C-28) in this instrument was reported 0.94 and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) was 0.67. It shows in the range of high reliability and is accepted to be used in the study field.


Table 1 : Cronbach alpha for Academic Motivation Scale (AMS-C28) Reliability Coefficient

Cronbach‟s Alpha Cronbach‟s Alpha Based on Standardized Items

N of Items

.948 .957 28

Table 2 : Cronbach alpha for Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) Reliability Statistics

Cronbach‟s Alpha Cronbach‟s Alpha Based on Standardized Items

N of Items

.679 .923 10

Table 3: Descriptive Frequency and Percentage on Ages of Respondents

Ages Frequency Percent


78 52.0

23-24 61 40.7

25-26 11 73.4

Total 150 100


Table 3 shows the descriptive frequency and percentage based on age of respondents. A total of 150 respondents were divides 3 groups regarding age of the respondents. Referring to the table, a


group of respondents 21-23 years old showed frequency with 78 and the percentage was 52.0%.

While the second group of respondents age 23-24 years old showed frequency 61 and the percentage was 40.7%. The last group of respondents 25-26 years old showed frequency 11 and the percentage 7.3%.

Table 4: Level of Academic Motivation amongst undergraduate students

Academic Motivation Frequency Percentage

Low Academic Motivation 29 19.3

Moderate Academic Motivation

44 29.3

High Academic Motivation 77 51.3

Total 150 100%

The table 4 shows the level of the academic motivation among undergraduate students shows that the frequency of low level is 29 which is 19.3%. While the frequency level of moderate is 44 in 29.3% and the last of level which high level is the frequency for high is 77 and the percentage for high is 51.3%.

Table 5: Level and Frequency of Perceived Stress among undergraduate students

Perceived Stress Frequency Percentage

Low Perceived Stress 132 88.0

Moderate Perceived Stress 15 10.0

High Perceived Stress 3 2.0

Total 150 100%

Table 5 describes the level of perceived stress during movement control order among undergraduate shows majority of the respondents (88.0%) have low level of perceived stress during movement control order while the frequency is 132. The table also shows that only (2.0%) of them has high level of perceived stress during movement control order and the frequency is 3.

Meanwhile only (10.0%) of the respondent has moderate level of perceived stress during movement control and the frequency is 15.


Table 6: t-test on different between gender on academic motivation during movement control order (MCO) among undergraduate students

Gender Mean Std. t df Sig. (2-tailed)

Male 160.6429 4.69020

-.710 148 0.47

Female 164.8500 3.72709

p < significant 0.05

Based on the table 6 shows the significant differences between academic motivation and gender amongst undergraduates‟ students. The result shows the significant differences between academic motivation and gender amongst students with t (= .710, p> 0.05). This indicated that there is no significant differences between academic motivation and gender amongst students. Thus, the hypothesis is acceptable. This result indicated that there is no differences between academic motivation and gender amongst students either male or female.

Table 7 : t-test on different between genders on perceived stress during movement control order (MCO) among undergraduate students

Gender Mean Std. t df Sig. (2-tailed)

Male 2.7857 6.20867

-1.031 148 .304

Female 3.9750 7.70496

p < significant 0.05

Based on the table 6 shows the significant differences between perceived stress and gender amongst undergraduates‟ students. The result shows the significant differences between perceived stress and and gender amongst students with (t = -1.031, p> 0.05). This indicated that there is no significant differences between perceived stress and gender amongst students. Thus, the hypothesis is acceptable. This result indicated that there is no differences between perceived stress and gender amongst students either male or female.

Correlation among variables

The Pearson product moment correlation coefficient is measured on a standard scale it can only range between -1.0 and +1.0. As such, it can interpret the correlation coefficient as representing an effect size. It tells the strength of the relationship between the two variables. In psychological research, we use (Cohen's, 1988) conventions to interpret effect size. A correlation coefficient of .10 is thought to represent a weak or small association; a correlation coefficient of .30 is considered a moderate correlation; and a correlation coefficient of .50 or larger is thought to represent a strong or large correlation. This section consists the findings of relationship


between academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order among undergraduate students. The data analysis yielded the result as present in the table 8.This section consists the findings of the relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order among undergraduate students.

There is no significant relationship between academic motivations and perceived stress among undergraduate students during movement control order.

Table 8 : Relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress Perceived Stress Academic Motivation Pearson Correlation -.102*

Sig. (2-tailed) .214

p < significant 0.05

Based on the table 8, shows the relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress amongst undergraduates students. The result shows the relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress amongst students with (r= -.102, p> 0.05). These results indicate that there is a positive but weak correlation between academic motivation and stress felt among students with (p = 0.21, p> 0.05). Therefore, the hypothesis is acceptable. These results indicate that there is a similarity of academic motivation among students towards perceived stress. The more students struggle towards academics, the more stress they feel and this indicates a directly proportional relationship.


This part discus the sample, inventory used in this research, and results on the descriptive, differences of t-test and correlation between academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order among undergraduate students. The Pearson correlation showed that there is has no significant relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order. The research design utilized for the current study same as compared to the implemented researches.

Objective 1& 2: The level of academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order among undergraduate students

According to objective 1 and 2, shows the result of the level of academic motivation during movement control order (MCO) among undergraduate students, more than half of the respondents (51.3%%) have a high level of academic motivation while only (19.3%) has a low level of academic motivation. Besides, there is (29.3%) respondents has moderate academic motivation that the effect of movement control order (MCO) during pandemic crisis.

According to Charles Gbollie and Harriett Pearl Keamu (2017) in Student Academic Performance Research: The Role of Seems that the results indicate that most respondents have gained a high degree of academic motivation, the researcher believed that it relates to the family structure, functions, beliefs, and other psychological factors such as self-confidence that are


affected. For instance, Lumsden (1994) stated the role of significant others (parents and home environment) in the motivation of students as a primary factor influencing the initial constellation of the attitudes of students they grow towards learning. Since students are at the core of the learning process, it is essential to study tailored to their motivations and strategies and factors that hinder their learning, as students themselves play a key role in shifting their learning and acquiring improved academic achievement, Charles Gbollie and Harriett Pearl Keamu (2017).

According to (Hijazi & Naqvi, 2006) the academic performance is not affected by age, gender, and place of residence but they also said those who live near to university can perform much better than others who live far from university. According to (Hijazi & Naqvi, 2006) also weak students if group with good students will do better in academic and its will lead students to graduate on time. The fact is the effort from the students themselves if they want to improve their academic performance then they will (Zajonc, 1980). Motivational beliefs and learning strategies are therefore essential because the use of beliefs and strategies has consequences for their academic motivation.

Meanwhile in objective 2, majority of respondents (88.0%) have low level of perceived stress during movement control order while only (2.0%) of them has high level of perceived stress during movement control order. Meanwhile only (10.0%) of the respondent has moderate level of perceived stress during movement control. The outcome is supported by the findings of Aida Kalok (2020) in The Psychological Impact of Movement Restriction during the COVID- 19 Outbreak on Clinical Undergraduates: A Cross-Sectional Study that linked a greater amount of social support (three or more) to a lower score of depression and stress. Compared to those without, undergraduates who received family support showed lower depression scores and higher mental well-being. Lower risk of depressive symptoms (Adjusted odds ratio, AOR 0.68;

95% confidence interval, CI 0.47–0.99) and a greater sense of mental well-being. This is paralel with Coleman‟s report (1966) showed that families play important roles in student‟s academic achievement than schools and communities. The report indicated that background and family support have a strong relationship to influence children‟s achievement in a longterm period more than the factors impact in schools (Coleman et al., 1966). Adequate social support is therefore important in alleviating anxiety and stress and promoting greater mental well-being during the national quarantine among students.This pattern of results is internally consistent, and is in line with other research findings showing that different types of support are more helpfu. For example, Asberg, et., al (2008) found that social support was animportant predictor of female college students‟ adjustment when dealing with university-related stressors (e.g., academic workload, financial issues), but that other forms of coping (e.g., avoidance) were more strongly related to male students‟ adjustment.

Objective 3 : The differences between genders on academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order (MCO) among undergraduate students

Objective 3, shows that there is no significant difference between genders academic motivations and level of stress among undergraduate students during movement control order regarding their genders. This result is inconsistent with the findings of his study is in line with Ibrahim (2010) related to the understanding that learning style with gender aspects. The results of this study show that the mean academic achievement of female students outperforms male students in terms of classroom learning. The results of the analysis also showed that the relationship between learning style and academic achievement found that there was a significant


relationship between aspects of the environment, sociology and aspects of student gender. This suggests that gender differences play an important role in academic achievement.

These findings are also inconsistent with the study of Yusoff and Azman (2018) based on correlation analysis showing that there is a significant relationship between student engagement with academic achievement based on gender. Female students showed a higher relationship (mean = 3.79) than male students (mean = 3.61). Next, there was a significant relationship between the cognitive engagement of male students with academic achievement with values of r

= 0.224 and sig = 0.001 (p <0.05). Relationship strength for behavioral and cognitive engagement for male students was at a low positive level. While for female students, there is a significant relationship between affective involvement and academic achievement with values (r

= 0.140 and sig = 0.005 (p <0.05). This shows that gender factors play an important role in academic achievement which shows female students master the learning process better compared to male students.

Objective 4 : The relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order (MCO) among undergraduate students.

Objective 4 shows that there is no relationship between academic motivation and perceived stress during movement control order among undergraduate students. This study also rejects the findings of Johari and Ahmad (2019) who showed that there is a significant relationship between academic self -perception, time constraints and self -well -being of university students. This study proves that academic self -perception is the strongest predictor factor in determining the self -well -being of university students and not a stress factor. This means that the self -well -being of university students is strongly influenced by self -concept not the stress factors that affect their academic achievement.

In the field of psychology and educational studies, as pointed by Rizwan Hassan Bhat (2016) in the research of the relationship between academic intrinsic motivation and psychological well-being among students of Aligarh Muslim University in the age group from 20-23 years participated in this study at an equal male and female ratio. The study included 50 males and 50 females, and participants were chosen through random sampling. The findings of this study show a significant, but negative correlation among male students between the dimensions of extrinsic motivation, which are peer acceptance, power motivation, fear of failure, and psychological well-being. While there was a low positive relationship between peer acceptance, a dimension of extrinsic motivation and psychological well-being, as in female students, and an inverse relationship between the achievement of need, intrinsic motivation dimension, and psychological well-being. However, result showed that in both men and women, a very low correlation was found between the remaining dimensions and well-being. The intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and involvement of the student can thus influence their learning outcome. If cultivated, intrinsic motivation can lead to many academic, social and emotional changes among students. It is linked to various psychological advantages, such as improved persistence, pro-social behavior, and happiness. The significance of intrinsic motivation as well as various kinds of extrinsic motivations to nurture learning among students is also important for educators to practise. This is because educators can currently use more active and vocational forms of extrinsic motivational strategies for teaching.

Furthermore, based on studies on the relationship of achievement motivation and psychological well-being amongst adolescents of Nisa (2017) showed that a significant relationship between motivation for achievement and psychological well-being. It is consistent


with numerous studies carried out by Li, Lan & Ju (2015) study (2013). This findings are in line with Hamsan and colleagues (2010) who found that students with high academic achievement were those with low levels of stress, and vice versa. Thus, for some intervention and intervention programs that can be implemented by the university, including training or courses related to improving the level of emotional management efficiency in facing life as a student at the university.

Limitations of findings

The limitation of the researchers in this study was to have only fewer and unbalanced male and female respondents. Although in general, it does not interfere with the results as a whole, in the future larger sampling involving gender is essential to ensure better quality results. The second factor involves sampling taken from undergraduate students of the Faculty of Leadership and Management from USIM. It can affect the results of the study due to the small sample size, where researchers may have trouble generating population generalizations. Therefore, for comprehensive results, future research needs to increase the number of respondents or the type of respondents in the sample. Another limitation was the time to collect data due to the Covid-19 pandemic that researchers were limited to distributing face-to-face questionnaires. Researchers in another way to collect data from FKP undergraduate students only from Google Form. Therefore, the researchers could not see or control the respondents in terms of men and women because it was quite difficult. Also, there are limited results in quantitative analysis. This approach was used as a questionnaire for respondents containing close questions. This would lead to the limited findings outlined in the research because of the inability to capture respondents ‟emotions, behaviors, and emotions. The results of the study did not indicate the actual situation, and respondents also limited the choice of answers based on the choice of questionnaires offered.

Recommendation for Future

It is hoped that this study can increase the understanding between students, parents, and the community about the importance of limiting the academic motivation that will affect perceived stress life in terms of psychological well-being, feelings, behavior, and so on during movement control order (MCO). Awareness of the impact on perceived stress is expected to enable students to control motivation rather than gives them-self stressful life towards environment today especially in the new norm of pandemic Covid-19 that have to all students and people around the world faced. This study is not only emphasized on students in higher educations but also especially on adolescents to open their minds to think about the positive effects of academic motivation to themselves. Therefore, educators and also parents play an important role in giving comfort environment and a way for students to do something that can decrease their stress.

Suggestions for future studies, the researcher suggested that the future researcher could enlarge the study sample from concentrating on one university to involving various types of undergraduate students from different universities. One of the facts about the data collected for this research is that it is focused on one faculty at a university only, that is, among the students of the Faculty of Leadership and Management, and it is focused on undergraduate students only.

Apart from that, the number of respondents between male and female students is also 150 where there are 80 female students and 70 male students only. Therefore, future studies need to increase the number of respondents as well as the type of respondents covering various


universities and also balance the number among male and female students. This is because it can help researchers get comprehensive study results.


None. No acknowledgement in this study


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