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Theme: Support Systems and Programs

The impact of personal computers on physical and psychological health: Strategies for staying in the "zone"

Elizabeth Tindle, Counselling Service, QUT.

At a time when distance learning and flexible delivery of university courses is increasing, spending long hours on computers, working from home or in the laboratory, raises some unique problems for first year undergraduate students. Some of these will be addressed in this paper. Students not only have to make a social and academic adjustment to university in the first months on campus, it is essential for them to make a technological adjustment too. For some students the personal computer can take on an overriding role in their lives. The paper will present a theoretical framework for first year students which helps to explain the developmental process that many students find themselves going through during their transitional phase at university. It will introduce the concept taken from sports psychology, of "staying in the zone of peak academic performance " in order to accomplish the task of obtaining a university degree whilst at the same time ensuring physical and psychological health. The zone of peak performance is defined as the ideal psychological and physical state commensurate with a level of optimum attainment for a particular individual. Finally strategies used by therapists to assist student to continue successfully in their course of choice and to achieve desirable academic outcomes, will be discussed.

Full Paper in MS Word

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