The main aim of this study and research was to assess the stress level of individuals in the context of an accelerator program. One hundred and eleven subjects (n = 111) volunteered to participate and completed a brief online questionnaire between March and April of 2017.
The screening survey included a total of five questions. The first question was designed to establish how long had it been since the end of the accelerator program; and the remaining questions consisted of a 4-items scale measuring the level of perceived stress experienced through that program. These items specifically asked participants to rate the experience of being unable to control important things in life, feeling unconfident about the ability to handle personal problems, feeling things were not going on their way, and feeling that difficulties were piling up so much they could not overcome them, according to a scale from 0 (never) to 4 (very often).
Participants reported a mean score of 5.78 (standard deviation = 3.01) of perceived stress, with total results ranging from 0 to 13. For reference, in this questionnaire the lowest possible total score is 0 and the highest is 16 and higher scores correlate to more stress. No demographic data was collected in this survey, therefore, the comparison of the mean score obtained by the sample in study is considered an average result, according to normative data found in a sample of adults resident in the United States of America.
In an attempt to further explore this result, participants were split into groups according to the time they completed the program, as can be seen in the following table.
No significant differences were found between groups; this is, respondents didn’t report more or less stress depending on how long ago they went through the program.
Several hypotheses might be considered when it comes to interpreting the main result of this study, among which is the fact that this is a retrospective study and therefore memory distortions should be taken into account. Also, the chosen measure of perceived stress detects individuals struggling with unpredictable, uncontrollable and overloaded lives, which might not be the case in the context of an accelerator program, since this kind of programs has a clear definition of context and time duration.
Further research should explore, with different types of measures, the stress levels of participants of accelerator programs before, during and after its completion, as well as other characteristics (e.g., emotion regulation strategies, distress tolerance) that might help explain how these individuals cope with the expected high level of stress associated to this process.
The analysis of this research was done by Dr. Sonia Martins Gregorio, a researcher and member of HENKÔ Team.
We would like to thank you for your time and collaboration with this survey.