# Training, Stress and Performance: Study Findings

Table of Contents

People often need to work and interact in stressful environments, and it is necessary to investigate whether techniques for decreasing stress levels can help people resolve complex tasks under pressure. The research involving participants with different life stress levels is designed to determine whether specific training can affect people’s performance in stressful environments. The research question for the study is the following: Does training in decreasing stress levels impact the people’s performance score related to the ability to complete the puzzle in a stressful environment?

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## Hypotheses

The researchers are focused on studying hypotheses that are different for two independent variables. For IV Training, H0: μ1 = μ2, H0: The performance will be the same for participants who received training and without training. H1: μ1 ≠ μ2, H1: The performance will be different for participants who received training and those without training.

For IV Life Stress, H0: μ1 = μ2, H0: The performance will be the same for participants with different life stress scores. H1: μ1 ≠ μ2, H1: The performance will be different for participants with different life stress scores.

Interaction: H0: There is no interaction between training and life stress scores; H1: There is an interaction between training and life stress scores.

## Variables

Training and life stress scores are categorical, discrete independent variables. IV Training has two levels such as presence and absence of training. IV Life Stress is measured as high and low. That is why these variables are measured according to the nominal scale. The dependent variable is the performance level measured according to the scores on the performance test. Thus, the performance score related to the number of puzzle pieces put together during 5 minutes is measured according to the ratio scale because the variable is quantitative and discrete. The maximum possible score is 10 pieces put together in 5 minutes.

## Descriptive Statistics

The study was conducted with the focus on 30 participants who were assigned to two groups, a control group where 15 participants did not receive any training and a training group where 15 participants received regular training. The average performance score for 30 participants was 4.87 (SD = 2.56). The range of the performance score was from 1 to 9. The skew was noted as 0.17. It means that the highest scores were not presented in the study. The mode score was 3, and seven participants demonstrated that result. The median was fixed as 4.5, and that result was lower than the mean score. The overall results demonstrate that the average performance score cannot be discussed as high, especially in comparison with the mode score, and these numbers state that low results are more expected in the studied situation.

The average score for those persons who received training was 7.13 (SD = 1.3), and it was 2.6 (SD = 0.9) for those without training. The range of scores was from 5 to 9 for those persons who received training with a negative skew of 0.06, and the range was from 1 to 4 for those persons without training with a negative skew of 0.34. These numbers mean that the trained participants demonstrated higher results. The average score for those persons with high life stress was 3.73 (SD = 2.09), and it was 6.0 (SD = 2.5) for those with low life stress. The range of scores was from 1 to 8 for the first category, with a positive skew of 0.68, and 2 to 9 for the second category, with a negative skew of 0.49. Thus, participants with low life stress levels demonstrate higher scores. The measures of central tendency and variability are important to analyze variables on interval and ratio scales because they demonstrate to which extent the scores differ. The shape of the distribution provides the information with references to skewness and kurtosis to discuss the demographics differences. However, these measures are not used for nominal and ordinal variables because of the absence of numerical data.

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## ANOVA Statistics

The two-way factorial ANOVA was conducted for this study because the focus was on the effect of two independent variables on the dependent variable. The used ANOVA can also be discussed as between-subjects factorial ANOVA based on independent samples because 30 participants of the study were not related and matched to each other. The results of the two-way factorial ANOVA demonstrate that the tests of the two main effects are statistically significant because of Sig. =.00 and Sig. =.046 (p <.05) for these factors. Referring to the F statistic, it is important to note that a significant main effect was observed for training, F = 109.854, p <.001. Participants who had training demonstrated significantly higher results (M = 7.13) than those without training (M = 2.6).

The difference is very large (Partial Eta Squared = 0.8). The effect characteristic for life stress level was stated as F = 4.394, and it indicates that the participants with low-stress level are inclined to demonstrate higher performance results (M = 6.00) than the participants with high-stress levels. For this study, a post-hoc test cannot be conducted because there are fewer than three groups presented for training and life stress variables (Huck, 2012, p. 320). The interaction effect is not statistically significant because of Sig. =.187 (p >.05). Since p-value >.05, it is impossible to reject the null hypothesis. That is why, there is no evidence to state that the presence of training and life stress levels have a significant interaction effect on participants’ performance (Arkkelin, n. d., par. 2; Table 1).

Table 1. Two-way ANOVA Table for between-subjects Effects.

 Source SS df MS F p Training 120.4 1 120.4 109.9 .000 Life stress 4.8 1 4.8 4.4 .046 Training * Life stress 2.0 1 2.0 1.8 .187 Error 28.5 26 1.1 Total 189.5 29

Referring to the hypothesis for the first factor of training, it is important to note that Sig. =.00 <.05, and it is possible to reject the null hypothesis while stating that there is enough evidence to focus on differences in training levels and effects on the performance. The second factor is life stress and Sig. =.046 ≤.05. It is possible to reject the null hypothesis while stating that there is enough evidence to focus on differences in life stress levels and effects on performance. Training in decreasing stress levels contributes to demonstrating high-performance results in stressful situations. High life stress levels are associated with participants’ low performance results. However, we cannot state whether training contributes to increasing results characteristic for persons in stressful situations and whether high stress contributes to decreasing typical performance results. Furthermore, there is no significant interaction between factors. While interpreting the data, it is necessary to note such limitations as the impossibility to assess the participants’ regular life stress levels and ability to complete puzzles (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 24).

## Conclusion

The study involving participants who have different life stress levels and training is designed to state whether there is two factors’ effect on the people’s performance in a stressful situation. The hypotheses on the differences in the performance of trained and non-trained participants and differences in the performance of persons with high and low-stress levels are supported, but the interaction between factors is not evident.

## References

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Arkkelin, D. (n. d.). Using SPSS to understand research and data analysis. Web.

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Huck, S. W. (2012). Reading statistics and research (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

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