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Anxiety Research


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A research work about anxiety and its effects

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Anxiety Research

  1. 1. 1 I. Introduction Could you still recall how it feels like to be taking a major exam with a sharp-eyed professor? “Imagine yourself fearing of what score you will be getting from a test wondering if you are going to pass or even answer this exam.” Students’ life especially in the tertiary level is not a bed of roses. It includes a lot of preparations like homework, projects, examinations and researches, that is why students feel variety of negative emotions like worrying of something that might happen in the future or failure to achieve goals and standards in school, which will possibly develop into psychological disorders like “anxiety”, if mismanaged. As stated by Scarre, Chris (1995), anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying. Moreover, it is an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behaviour, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints and rumination. Furthermore, anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue, and problems in concentration. However, anxiety is distinguished from fear, which is referred to as an appropriate cognitive and emotional response to a perceived threat and is related to the specific behaviours of fight-or-flight responses, defensive behaviour or escape. Anxiety, on the other hand, occurs in situations only perceived as uncontrollable or unavoidable, but not realistically so. With the information above, the researchers are motivated to conduct a study on anxiety since it will be a significant endeavour to find out the different levels of anxiety a
  2. 2. 2 paramedical and non-paramedical student in Liceo de Cagayan University may have and what are the factors that cause this disorder. Moreover, this research will provide recommendations on how to prevent or lessen the cases of anxiety disorders, specifically to students. Further, the main objective of this study is to identify the levels of anxiety among paramedical and non-paramedical students in LDCU; hence the specific objectives of the study are to determine the course taken by the respondent; age and year level of the respondent; assess the degree/level of anxiety of the majority of the paramedical students in LDCU based on their responses to the survey; assess the degree/level of anxiety of the majority of the non-paramedical students in LDCU based on their responses to the survey; compare the level of anxiety of the paramedical and non- paramedical students in LDCU; and lastly to determine the factors that may cause anxiety.
  3. 3. 3 II. Body Researches conducted by the American Psychological Association show that anxiety disorders can be caused by different factors like; family history, environmental and external factors, and the medical factors, or a combination of these. According to Goldberg,, (1988), it is commonly triggered by the stress in our lives. Usually, anxiety is a response to outside forces, but it is possible that we make ourselves anxious with “negative self-talk”—a habit of always telling ourselves the worst will happen. Anxiety risk factors include family history which refers to parenting factors that includes parental rejection, lack of parental warmth, high hostility, harsh discipline, high maternal negative effect, and anxious childbearing. Based on a study in Harvard University by McLeod,, (1985), theoretical models emphasize the role of parenting in the development and maintenance of child anxiety, but reviews of the empirical literature have provided mixed support for existing theories. Traditional models of childhood anxiety sought to explain the development of anxiety in terms of single main effects and focused primarily on the broad parenting dimensions of acceptance versus rejection and psychological granting of autonomy versus psychological control (Gerlsma et al., 1990; Masia & Morris, 1998; Rapee, 1997; Wood et al., 2003). Both represent bipolar parenting dimensions, with positive parenting practices (e.g., acceptance) at one end of the continuum and negative parenting practices (e.g., rejection) at the other end of the continuum. For simplicity, we will use the terms rejection and control throughout the rest of this paper. Parental rejection connotes low levels of parental warmth, approval, and responsiveness (i.e., coldness, disapproval, and unresponsiveness) (e.g., Clark & Ladd, 2000; Maccoby, 1992).
  4. 4. 4 Furthermore, parental rejection is hypothesized to undermine children's emotion regulation by increasing sensitivity to anxiety (e.g., Gottman, Katz, & Hooven, 1997). Hence, it is hypothesized to put children at an increased risk for developing anxiety problems. In terms of, parental control it involves excessive parental regulation of children's activities and routines, encouragement of children's dependence on parents, and instruction to children on how to think or feel (Barber, 1996; Steinberg, Elmer, & Mounts, 1989). Some theoretical models (Chorpita & Barlow, 1998; Krohne, 1990; Manassis & Bradley, 1994; Rapee, 2001; Rubin & Mills, 1991) hypothesize that when parents are highly controlling in contexts when it is developmentally appropriate for children to act independently (attending elementary school), children may experience decreased self- efficacy, and thus, increased anxiety especially about their ability to function on their own within their environments (Wood, 2006). Conversely, some models (Chorpita & Barlow, 1998; Wood et al., 2003) have hypothesized that parental encouragement of children's autonomy and independence (in novel contexts) may augment children's perceptions of mastery over the environment, leading to anxiety reduction. Another factor that can be considered a cause acquiring anxiety disorder is the environmental factors which includes peer pressure, drug-abusing behavior and child abuse which involves cases like emotionally, physically or worst sexually abused. These factors result to a type of anxiety called Social Anxiety. Social anxiety is the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self- consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result,
  5. 5. 5 leads to avoidance. In terms of Peer Pressure it is one factor that contributes to social anxiety; this is an influence that a peer group, observers or individual exerts that encourages others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to group norms. As children approach and enter adolescence, the need to separate psychologically from their parents, is a normal, developmental event. At the same time, there is a heightened need for approval by one’s identified peer group. It becomes very important to gain positive appraisals from peers and to avoid negative appraisals. These two dimensions of need for approval have opposite associations with children’s well- being, based on a study conducted by HHS Public Access, 2005. Research shows that 87% of teens face a negative peer pressure situation daily – most commonly concerning issues to cheat, skip classes, fight, lie to parents, dress or look particular ways, vandalize, gossip/belong to cliques, stay out late, drive fast, not to mention engage in high risk behaviors involving drugs, alcohol, or crime. Drug-abusing behavior may also be acquired or developed due to peer pressure or the environment that the child is in. Moderate alcohol consumption—a glass of wine with dinner or a few drinks at a party—is no cause for concern for many people. However those with anxiety disorders may find that alcohol or other substances can make their anxiety symptoms worse. And they are two to three times more likely to have an alcohol or other substance abuse disorder at some point in their lives than the general population. Another factor is the Child abuse. It is the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department for Children and Families
  6. 6. 6 (DCF) define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child. Child abuse can occur in a child's home, or in the organizations, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, abuse, psychological, and sexual abuse. Emotional abuse refers to the psychological and social aspects of child abuse; it is the most common form of child abuse. Complaints of neglect constitute a significant proportion of notifications and referrals to child protection services; however, there is no single definition of child neglect. It is generally understood that "neglect" refers to a range of circumstances in which a parent or caregiver fails to adequately provide for a child's needs: through the provision of food, shelter and clothing, by ensuring their access to medical care when necessary, by providing them with care, love and support, by exercising adequate supervision and control of the child, by showing appropriate moral and legal guidance, by ensuring that the child regularly attends school. While, physical abuse has been a normal aspect of domestic life in various communities for a long time. Physical assaults that would be serious criminal offenses if committed by one man against another - for instance, hitting, slapping, or striking with an object - have been legally and socially sanctioned when committed by a man against his wife and child, or by parents against their children. Today, incidents of domestic violence committed against both women and children remain at epidemic proportions, although there is increasing recognition of the prevalence and harms of violence against
  7. 7. 7 women and children. Sexual abuse describes any incident in an adult engages a minor in a sexual act, or exposes the minor to inappropriate sexual behavior or material. On the other hand, Sexual abuse also describes any incident in which a child is coerced into sexual activity by another child. Contextual factors that are thought to contribute anxiety include gender socialization and learning experiences. In particular, learning mastery (the degree to which people perceives their lives to be under their own control) and instrumentality, which includes such traits as self-confidence, independence, and competitiveness fully mediate the relation between gender and anxiety. That is, though gender differences in anxiety exist, with higher levels of anxiety in women compared to men, gender socialization and learning mastery explain these gender differences. A study conducted by Costra, P. (2009), anxiety is associated with medical factors such as anemia, asthma, infections, and several heart conditions. Some medically-related causes of anxiety include: stress from a serious medical illness, side effects of medication, symptoms of medical illness, lack of oxygen from emphysema, or pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung). However, medical factors should also be considered in concluding why a specific person acquires anxiety disorder. A psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or other mental- health professional is usually enlisted to diagnose anxiety and identify the causes of it. The physician will take a careful medical and personal history, perform a physical examination, and order laboratory tests as needed. There is no one laboratory test that can be used to diagnose anxiety, but tests may provide useful information about medical condition that may be causing physical illness or other anxiety symptoms. To
  8. 8. 8 be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a person must: excessively worry and be anxious about several different events or activities on more days than not for at least six months; find difficult to control the worrying; have at least three of the following symptoms associated with anxiety on more days than not in the last six months: restlessness, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating. Generally, to be diagnosed with GAD, symptoms must be present more often than not for six months and they must interfere with daily living, causing the sufferer to miss work or school. Anxiety is the faulty activation of your fight or flight system at times when there is no fear causing stimuli present. When anxiety hits, it automatically changes "behaviors" in the sense that it prepares your body to fight or run away by increasing your heart rate, causing sweating, etc. But anxiety can also change the way you act on a day to day basis, both when you have anxiety and when you don't. In this article, we'll explore some of the common and unusual behavioral changes that occur as a result of anxiety. Behaviors are actually a significant part of most anxiety disorders, because by definition anxiety needs to change your behavior in some way to qualify as an anxiety disorder. For example, you cannot quality for a phobia if you don’t show fear at the site of your phobic stimulus. You can't qualify for panic disorder if you don't have panic attacks, which are a behavioral reaction. All of these are examples of ways that anxiety affects behavior. But in this case, we're talking about very specific types of changes to behavior that results from anxiety, and there are many.
  9. 9. 9 Enlisted, are just a few of the ways anxiety can affect behavior: Moping Behavior- Perhaps the most common behavior is what some like to call "moping behavior." It is this need or desire to be alone with your own thoughts and try to "deal with your anxiety" without the help of others and without engaging in fun life activities. Agoraphobia- Similarly, some anxiety disorders can cause a person to develop agoraphobia, which is technically the fear of being unable to escape, but usually refers to someone that refuses to leave their own and a few very select environments (like work). Further, it is caused primarily from panic disorder, and it occurs because the person starts to associate various locations with panic attacks, until eventually so many places are associated with panic attacks that they simply refuse to go out at all. In addition, it is a terrible disorder, and absolutely a behavioral one, despite the broad range of ways that someone can be agoraphobic. Lastly, Compulsions- Compulsive behaviors can refer to anything. Sometimes they relate directly to the fear/obsession. For example, a fear of germs may have someone compulsively wash their hands. Sometimes they relate to a need for order, and a person will compulsively place objects or items in a specific order or pattern. But in some cases, these disorders may not have any relationship to the fear at all, or may be only slightly related as stated from Calm Clinic Articles (2001). To be able to address the objective of this study, a survey is conducted to some selected paramedical and non-paramedical college students in Liceo de Cagayan University. The survey questionnaire used is adapted from Kroenke K. Spitxer RL, (2007) who performed a study on anxiety disorders in primary care: prevalence, impairment, co morbidity, and detection. We have selected 20 respondents to answer
  10. 10. 10 our questionnaire. 10 of the respondents are taking-up medical courses and the other 10 of the respondents are taking-up non-paramedical courses. The questionnaire contains 7 questions. It has four choices, each choice corresponds a specific value and be added in all to be able to know how much the degree of anxiety the respondent has is. If the respondent is in the scale of (0-5) it means he/she is having minimal level of anxiety, ( 6-10) means mild level of anxiety, ( 11-15) means moderate level of anxiety and (16-21) means the highest degree or severe level of anxiety. Table 1 Demographic Characteristic of Samples Variables Paramedical Students Non-Paramedical Number Students Number Age: 15-17 years old 7 2 18-20 years old 3 7 21-23 years old 0 0 24-27 years old 0 1 Gender: Male 4 8 Female 6 2 Year Level: 1st year college 8 3 2nd year college 2 7 3rd year college 0 0 4th year college 0 0
  11. 11. 11 Table 1 shows the demographic characteristics of the sample of both paramedical and non-paramedical students in LDCU which includes the course category, age, and gender and year level. It shows that majority of the paramedical students are ages between 15 to 17 years old while majority of the non- paramedical students are 18 to 20 years old. Majority of the paramedical students are male while majority of the non-paramedical samples are female. Most of the paramedical students are in 1st year college on the other hand majority of the non-paramedical students are in 2nd year. Table 1.1 Levels of Anxiety among Paramedical Students in LDCU Variables Anxiety Level Gender: Minimal Mild Moderate Severe Male 0 2 2 0 Female 2 1 2 1 Age: 15-17 years old 2 2 3 1 18-20 years old 0 2 1 0 Table 1.1 shows that the ages of the samples affect the degree of anxiety one may have. It shows that paramedical students of younger ages have higher risk to anxiety. It also shows that female paramedical students have higher risk to anxiety than males do.
  12. 12. 12 Table 1.2 Levels of Anxiety among Non- Paramedical Students in LDCU Variables Anxiety Level Gender: Minimal Mild Moderate Severe Male 1 1 0 0 Female 1 4 3 0 Age: 17-19 years old 2 5 2 1 20-23 years old 0 0 0 0 24-27 years old 0 0 1 0 The table above indicates that the male non-paramedical students have higher risks to anxiety. It also shows that non-paramedical students of ages 17-19 years old have higher level of anxiety. Table 1.3 Comparison of Levels of Anxiety between Paramedical and Non-Paramedical Students in LDCU Variables Levels of Anxiety No. Of Students Paramedical Students Minimal 2 Mild 3 Moderate 4 Severe 1 Non- Paramedical Students Minimal 2 Mild 5 Moderate 3 Severe 0
  13. 13. 13 Table 1.3 tells us that 1 out of 10 paramedical students has severe level of anxiety on the other hand non-paramedical students have 0 out of 10. There is also a clear comparison that 5 out of 10 non-paramedical students have mild level of anxiety, higher than the 3 out of 10 ratio for the paramedical students.
  14. 14. 14 III. Conclusion Based on the data gathered, the researchers found out that the Paramedical students in LDCU have higher level of anxiety than those of the non- paramedical students. There is a ratio of 1:10 paramedical students suffering severe level of anxiety while the latter has a ratio of 0:10. Related researches have cited that paramedical courses are really stressful ones. Academic standards and activities cause students worry so much if they could reach standards and perform specific activities. Such challenges may cause psychiatric disorders like anxiety. IV. Recommendations The researchers recommend to consider most individual’s lifestyle. Lifestyle changes are simple but powerful tools in treating depression and anxiety, and they are an essential component of an integrated approach to treatment. In some cases, lifestyle changes alone can lift depression or relieve anxiety, so it makes sense to start with them right away. But if you are suffering from moderate to severe depression or anxiety, also seek professional help right away. And if you don’t see relief from symptoms of mild depression in a few months, likewise seek professional help as stated at Center for Spirituality and Healing of Charlson Meadows (2014).
  15. 15. 15 Bibliography Books Lovibonds, S, (1995). Manual for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale, 2nd Edition, Sydning, Psychology Foundation. Gayle Beck J., (2010). Interpersonal Process in the Anxiety Disorders. NE, Washington, DC. Electronic Media and Online Resources Study on Point Prevalence of Anxiety, and Depression by Refai Yassen Al-Hussein, on the Technical Institute/Mosul.Retrieved March 1. 2015 from Crosta, Peter (2009): 'What is Anxiety?' .Retrieved February 2, 2015 from (WebMD) (2005): “Types of Anxiety Disorder” . Retrieved March 1, 2015 from
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