ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AMONG PORTUGUESE ADOLESCENTS: THE MODERATION EFFECT OF NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS
University of Coimbra, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Adolescence is a period characterized by physiological and psychosocial changes. When these transformations are not well integrated by the adolescent, the development of psychopathology can occur, namely depression and anxiety disorders. These conditions have consequences in interpersonal and academic life areas of teens. Social withdrawal, irritability, sleeping problems and attention difficulties are associated with low academic achievement (Bahls, 2002; Shafi & Shafi, 2005; Reinherz et al., 2006). The experience of negative life events (NLE) by adolescents can also modify their normal trajectory. Girls experience more negative life events with pairs and family and boys experience more NLE related to school context (Hilt & Nolen-Hoeksema, 2009; Cyranowski et al., 2000; hyde et al., 2008). Older adolescents experienced more NLE, especially related to school (Rhode, 2009; Hammen, 2009).
The aims of this study were to study:
i) the association between sociodemographic variables with anxiety;
ii) the relationships between anxiety, depression and academic achievement;
iii) the moderator effect of negative life events in the relationship between anxiety and depression.
The sample was composed by 319 adolescents (217 female and 102 male), aged between 13 to 15 years. The assessment protocol used was: CDI (Children Depression Inventory, Kovacs, 1985), MASC (Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children, March, Parker, Sullivan, Stallings, & Conners, 1997) and DHMS (Daily hassles Microsystem Scale, Seidman, et al., 1995).
The results showed that girls present more anxiety symptoms than boys. Concerning to age, there was no significant correlation between age and anxiety. Adolescents with separate parents obtained higher levels of somatic symptoms and performance fear.
Relating to scholar context, there was no significant relationship between anxiety levels and the experience of reprobation. Concerning academic achievement, we obtained a positive and significant correlation between academic achievement and the harm avoidance factor.
Anxiety and NLE were predictors of depressive symptoms in adolescence and a moderation effect was obtained of NLE in the relationship between anxiety (separation anxiety and harm avoidance) and depression.
One of the main contributions of this research relates to the clarification of the impact of NLE and anxiety as risk factors for the development of depression. These results can have important implications for depression prevention programs and for the promotion of school success.
Keywords: Anxiety, negative life events, depressive symptoms, academic achievement, adolescence.