Waikato Journal of Education


academic stress; Pasifika students; religiosity; social provision; social anxiety

How to Cite

Fakapulia, I. F., Samalia, L., & Wibowo, E. (2023). Social factors are associated with academic stress in Pasifika students at the University of Otago. Waikato Journal of Education, 28(1). https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v28i1.1040


The majority of Pasifika students at the University of Otago come from other parts of New Zealand and have to adapt to studying and living in an environment that does not have a strong Pacific culture. These changes potentially affect their education experience and academic performance. Students may form social networks through religious institutions or student associations. Using a brief (1015 minute) survey, we investigated how religiosity, social provision, and social anxiety as ethnic minorities are associated with perceived academic stress among Pasifika students in our department. We recruited 54 Pasifika students from a cohort of 101 students: 20 male, 33 female, and 1 akava’ine. Male students had higher academic stresses related to academic expectation than female students. Religiosity, social provision, and avoiding interaction with New Zealand European people were all associated with perceived academic stress in our cohort. Students preferred seeking social support from Pasifika friends and family members, and academic support from academic staff, tutorials organised by the University’s Pacific Islands Centre, and friends. In conclusion, social factors are associated with academic stress of Pasifika students in the University of Otago. Institutions need to establish strong support infrastructure for ethnic minority students as they may have additional stressors which may affect their study.

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Copyright (c) 2023 Ilaisaane Foli Fakapulia, Latika Samalia, Erik Wibowo