Publication Date

Spring 2018


Center for Academic Support and Advising Services (CASAS)


Interdisciplinary Studies


Stress, Prosocial Behavior, Physiology, Psychological, College Students


Stress is a major part of everyday life for the majority of people, especially college students. Stress has a physiological response and serves an important purpose in the body. If an individual does not take the proper measures to reduce stress and it continues for long periods of time, the outcome can be damaging to the stressed individual. Stress can cause problems both physically and mentally. There are many different ways to reduce stress and to counteract the damage that stress can cause on the body. Prosocial behavior is an action that elevates others’ needs over an individual’s needs. Studies have been completed to see if this type of behavior is capable of reducing stress. This coping mechanism appears to be effective because the physiological effects and psychological effects that prosocial behavior has on the body are opposite of the effects that stress produces in the body. Prosocial behavior also allows the individual performing the action to take his or her mind off the overwhelming circumstance and thus, stop the effects from taking a toll on the body. This paper will review the literature in order to determine if prosocial behavior would be a better coping mechanism in reducing stress, specifically in college students, than other coping mechanisms, such as exercise or temporal distancing. The paper will also try to determine if prosocial behavior can be effective in preventing long-term stress or if it is only helpful in reducing stress after it has occurred.