College Student Work Habits, Interruptions, and Stress

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



We see them every day, staring fervently at their phones, oblivious to other people and sometimes cars. Today's college student is constantly bombarded with interruptions and distractions from a variety of sources, and presumably is unable to focus on any task for any length of time. The purpose of this study was to explore the work habits of college students in a naturalistic education setting. The data indicated that college students had longer periods of uninterrupted work compared to studies of the knowledge workforce. We already know current knowledge workers, a generation raised almost without electronic interruptions, can hardly cope with a harried environment. This study found college students also seem to manage interruptions by delaying responses and batching them, and they did not seem to experience significant stress from interruptions.