The Abused Student Syndrome

The abused student syndrome is a concept developed by Miryea Lund of PCS and refers to a manifestation of stress. A large university is not geared toward the individual. This may create mindless and unfair pressures with which the student needs to learn to cope. A number of different but simultaneous situations may create difficulties for the student that become so vast, the overall situation appears hopeless. Since the student can't change what is happening, coping strategies must be developed.
The following are some of the elements that contribute to the abused student syndrome:
  1. The student may study and know the materials, but the test is not fair and consequently he/she fails the exam.
  2. Problems may arise in human relations where the student does not always get what he/she wants.
  3. Some professors utilize scare tactics that create manufactured fears of the professor, course, or both.
  4. Some T.A.'s can't help students or are lazy; thus the students have nowhere to turn for much needed help with homework, class content, etc.
  5. Occasionally a student may experience discrimination. In addition to the more widely acknowledged forms of discrimination (e.g., sex, race), the student may be discriminated against because he/she is fat, ugly, physically handicapped, etc.
But, if two or more such elements simultaneously occur, the student may develop feelings of helplessness and eventually become paranoid. It is important to try to recognize students who may be experiencing the Abused Student Syndrome and assist them in obtaining referral to other offices where help might be obtained.