Anxiety in College Students by Benjamin Ayres
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About Anxiety in College Students by Benjamin Ayres
Anxiety in College Students by Benjamin Ayres: This book describes the etiology, prevalence, and frequency of anxiety disorders among college students. An overview of stress among students in developing countries is given, and how it may affect the emergence of certain diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. The effects of disclosure of past stressful events in students have also examined as well as the variables that point to the emotional processing of certain events.
This book reviews the coping, mental health status, and current life regret in college women who differ in their lifetime pregnancy status. In addition, the association between gender differences and proneness to depression among college students is examined, including the risk factors (such as anxiety) in the development of depression. Furthermore, the factors that lie behind students’ motivated behavior and academic goals are addressed. Finally, the current alcohol and tobacco use in pharmacy studies is reviewed as well as the ways in which to prevent further alcohol and drug abuse among these students.
Short Communication – Self-concept disturbances have been considered to play a determining role in the development of eating disorders. However, questions remain unanswered about the aspects of self-concept that distinguish eating-disordered women from other populations, and about the mechanisms that link the self-concept to the disordered behaviors.
Referring to Markus’ self-schema model (1977), a limited collection of positive self-schema available in memory, in combination with a chronically and inflexibly accessible schema about body weight, may contribute to the development of an eating disorder.
To test this model, two multidimensional self-concept questionnaires, the Self Description Questionnaire III and the Physical Self Description Questionnaire, were administered to two groups of female high school students: 125 eating-disordered (both anorexic-like and bulimic-like) students and 103 normal controls. No significant differences emerged in the academic-related aspects of the self-concept.
However, nonacademic-related dimensions, particularly body-weight/appearance aspects, revealed significant differences between the eating-disordered students and their normal peers. Fewer differences appeared between the anorexic-like and bulimic-like subgroups. Disturbances in body-weight/appearance aspects of the self-concept may be useful as early signals in the detection of students at risk for developing an eating disorder.
Chapter 1 – This chapter describes how the Rasch model was applied to construct an interval-level scale measuring student use and disposition towards information and communication technology (ICT). Scale development was based upon a hypothesized model of classroom ICT learning culture comprising self and collective values, attitudes, and behaviors. Specifically, the study aimed to produce a scale that: Measured student self-reported learning behaviors and attitudes towards the use of ICT; had calibrated item difficulties and self-reported learning behaviors and attitudes towards ICT measures on the same scale; and elicited data to fit the theoretical model.
A 126 item Likert scale type instrument was developed, administered to 439 primary and secondary school students, and then refined and validated by Rasch analysis. The validated data comprised 62 items on five aspects of the ICT learning culture. These five aspects were: Student reported learning attitudes and behaviors; student reported teacher attitudes and behaviors; student reported attitudes and behaviors towards ICT networks; student reported home ICT attitudes and behaviors, and student reported values towards ICT use at school. Examination of the psychometric properties of the data identified common and uncommon attitudes and behaviors. This illustrated how students viewed their classroom ICT learning culture.
Chapter 2 – Most college students experience some degree of social anxiety on occasion. However, many suffer chronic anxiety across social situations coupled with a strong fear of negative evaluation. In addition to impaired occupational and social functioning, severe social anxiety or social phobia can carry profound consequences for college students.
Social anxiety is a prominent motivation for college student drinking (Burke and Stephens, 1999). In addition to social isolation, social anxiety is associated with depressogenic cognitions, both of which leave socially anxious students at an increased risk for depression (Johnson et al., 1992). Anxiety sensitivity – fear of anxiety-related sensations due to perceived consequences of physical, mental, or social harm – might play an important role in the development of social anxiety (Hazen et al., 1995).
Unlike panic disorder, in which individuals typically fear anxiety symptoms out of fear of physical harm or loss of mental control, socially anxious individuals fear perceived social consequences of others noticing their anxiety. Socially anxious college students also judge others who appear anxious more negatively than do college students without social anxiety (Purdon et al., 2001).
Although panic disorder treatments target anxiety sensitivity directly with interoceptive exposure strategies, this approach is just beginning to receive attention for the treatment of social anxiety. After a brief review of the literature describing the nature of social anxiety among college students, this chapter will examine the specific role of anxiety sensitivity in its development and maintenance. Finally, results from a preliminary investigation comparing the effects of interoceptive exposure delivered in a social context to social context exposure without the interoceptive component will be presented and discussed.
Chapter 3 – Some educators have failed to acknowledge the prevalence of test anxiety and its effect on academic performance among university students. This study addresses this issue at the university level using data collected through the Revised Test Anxiety (RTA) instrument and Sarason’s four-factor model as a basis for measuring test anxiety. The study also investigates the effect of demographic factors on test anxiety. Findings reveal that test anxiety is significantly and negatively related to academic performance. Reasons for these findings are addressed.
Chapter 4 – In 1986 Pennebaker and Beall published their renowned study on the long-term beneficial health effects of disclosing traumatic events in 4 brief sequential writing sessions. Their results have been confirmed in various studies, but conflicting results have also been reported. The intent of our study was to replicate the experiments from Pennebaker and Beall (1986), Pennebaker et al. (1988), and Greenberg and Stone (1992) using a German student sample. Additionally, essay variables that point to the emotional processing of events (e.g., depth of self-exploration, number of negative/positive emotions, the intensity of emotional expression) were examined as potential mechanisms of action.
Trait measures of personality that could moderate the personal consequences of disclosure (alexithymia, self-concealment, worrying, social support) were also assessed. In a second study, the experimental condition (disclosure) was varied by implementing “coping” vs. “helping” instructions as variations of the original condition. Under the coping condition, participants were asked to elaborate on what they used to do, continue to do, or could do in the future to better cope with the event.
Under the helping condition, participants were asked to imagine themselves in the role of an adviser and elaborate on what they would recommend to persons also dealing with the trauma in order to better cope with the event. The expected beneficial effects of disclosure on long-term health (e.g., physician visits, physical symptoms, affectivity) could not be corroborated in either the first or the second study. None of the examined essay variables of emotional processing and only a single personality variable was able to explain significant variance in the health-related outcome variables influence.
Nevertheless, substantial reductions in posttraumatic stress symptoms (e.g., intrusions, avoidance, arousal), were found in both experiments. These improvements were significantly related to essay variables of emotional expression and self-exploration and were particularly pronounced under the activation of a prosocial motivation (helping condition).
Repeated, albeit brief, expressive writing about personally upsetting or traumatic events resulted in an immediate increase in the negative mood but did not lead to long-term positive health consequences in a German student sample. It did, however, promote better processing of stressful or traumatic events, as evidenced by reductions in posttraumatic stress symptoms.
The instruction to formulate recommendations for persons dealing with the same trauma seems more helpful than standard disclosure or focusing on one’s own past, present, and future coping endeavors. Overall, expressive writing seems to be a successful method of improving trauma processing. Determining the appropriate setting (e.g., self-help vs. therapeutic context) for disclosure can be seen as an objective of future research.
Chapter 5 – Mankind since the dawn of history has been afflicted with various forms of diseases. Communicable diseases that took a heavy toll on human life in medieval and prehistoric times have been replaced by non-communicable diseases and conditions in recent times. Among the six factors which are responsible for the major share of these diseases, Stress occupies an important place (Rose, G.A. and Blackburn H. 1968). The Oxford English dictionary defines stress as pressure, tension, or worry resulting from the problems in one’s life. It is thus a condition of the mind, in which a person loses his calm tranquility, and equanimity and experiences extreme discomfiture.
Chapter 6 – This study examined the current mental health status, coping strategies, and perceived life regret of three types of female college students (n = 277): those who had never been pregnant (67.9%, n= 188); those who became pregnant at or before age 18 who were a priori considered to be resilient (14.8%, n = 41); and those who had experienced pregnancy after age 18 (17.3%, n = 48). Data were collected at a diverse urban public university in the Southeast. This university has a significant number of commuter and non-traditional students.
Results indicated that college women who had experienced an adult pregnancy reported significantly fewer maladaptive coping strategies than never-pregnant college women and those who had experienced a teenage pregnancy. Surprisingly, both groups of ever pregnant college women expressed significantly more life regret than never pregnant college women.
Among the college women who had experienced a teenage pregnancy, two groups were delineated: those who were “thriving” versus those who were “at-risk” with regards to their current symptoms of depression, hostility, and hopelessness. Women in the “at-risk” group were significantly less likely to be simultaneously parenting and attending college than those in the “thriving” group. One potential implication is that identifying and intervening with these potentially at-risk college women may help improve retention rates and student morale at universities with a diverse student body.
Chapter 7 – Aims: The authors’ research aimed to find out what role the risk mechanisms, as described in Goodman and Gotlib’s (1999) model (genetic-biological, interpersonal, social learning-related cognitive and stress-related factors), play in the development of increased risk for depression in the case of men and women.
Methods: The genetic-biological factors were examined with certain temperament characteristics, the interpersonal factors with a parental educational purpose, educational attitudes, educational style, and parental treatment. In the case of factors related to social learning, we looked at the dysfunctional attitudes and the attributional style. As far as the stressors are concerned, we observed the quality of the family atmosphere and the number of the positive and negative life events of the preceding six months, and their subjective evaluation. Six hundred and eighty-one students took part in the research (465 female and 216 male).
Results: The authors’ research results show that all of the increased risk mechanisms, namely the genetic-biological, interpersonal, social learning-related cognitive, and stress-related factors are connected with the development of vulnerability to depression, explaining 41.4% of the depression symptoms’ variance in the case of women, and 36.5% in the case of men. Harm avoidance, a genetic-biological factor, proved to be the most significant risk mechanism, irrespective of the sexes. From among the environmental factors – irrespective of the sexes – one stress-related factor, the subjective evaluation of negative life experiences, which implies an increased sensitivity to stress, proved to be the strongest risk mechanism.
While the above factors played an important role in the development of vulnerability to depression in both sexes, the social learning-related cognitive and interpersonal risk mechanisms differed in their degree in women and men. In the case of women, the social learning-related mechanisms proved to be stronger and higher impact risk factors than in the case of men. The effect of interpersonal factors seemed to be relatively the weakest in the development of increased risk for depression.
Limitations: The results of the authors’ research cannot be generalized to represent present-day 18- to 23-year-old Hungarian youth due to the limitations of our sample. Conclusion: The mental hygienic interpretation of our research findings is that in the future there should be more emphasis put on the personality development of college and university students, especially on the development of such competencies that aid them in effectively coping in their struggle with the depressive mood.
Chapter 8 – The question of what lies behind students’ motivated behavior has given rise to a complex network of models and constructs in an attempt to clarify this important issue. A fundamental component of motivation, regardless of the theoretical perspective adopted, is that of value, which includes the goals adopted by students in order to ensure involvement in their tasks, as well as their beliefs regarding the importance, usefulness, or interest of the latter (Pintrich, 2003; Pintrich and DeGroot, 1990).
Essentially, the value component of motivation responds to the following question: “Why am I doing this task?”, alluding, therefore, to the motives, purposes, or reasons for becoming involved in the performance of an activity, these all being aspects closely related to both cognitive and self-regulating activities and choice, effort or persistence (Pintrich, 1999). Despite the existence of a wide range of value conceptualizations, two elements appear as being particularly relevant: academic goals and the value assigned to tasks.
Chapter 9 – Studies related to alcohol and drug use in healthcare students, namely nursing, pharmacy, and medicine suggest that drug and alcohol abuse continues to be a growing problem among health profession students. A review of the more recent literature involving pharmacy students has noted higher levels of alcohol and drug use when compared to the undergraduate student population. Interestingly, the use and/or abuse of tobacco have largely been overlooked in studies involving substance abuse in pharmacy students.
This study documented the current alcohol and tobacco use in pharmacy students and conducted a lecture series on the use and abuse of alcohol and tobacco. The lecture series was successful in increasing the awareness of the use and potential abuse of alcohol in the students. Attitudinal changes in students following the lecture series were also assessed.
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