How does anxiety affect childrens education

Subject: Mental Health
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1728
Topics: Anxiety Disorder, Stress


Anxiety may be a result of intense or excessive uneasiness, worry or fear (Aydin, 2017). Significantly, these feelings interfere with the day to day functioning of the individuals and can at times last for long. delays in treating anxiety may result to anxiety disorder, drugs and alcohol abuse, low self-esteem, poor relations with others and absenteeism in school. This paper will delve into the various ways that anxiety manifests to enable us espouse on how to deal with the phenomena. According to research in the United States, one out of every seven children suffer from anxiety disorder that comprise “post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorders and phobias” (Rostami et al, 2017). Fears that crop out of unrealistic and excessive anxiety on the happenings that surround children are referred to as phobias. The mere thought of coming across the event or object that causes fear may lead children into panicking. It is normal for humans to fear but only to a certain extent. For children, fear is generally a mechanism for survival and adaptation; no child should be ashamed or laughed off because of his or her fears. However, children are subjected to ridicule by their peers or even family for exhibiting this adaptive mechanism. The study will look at age, gender and genetics as one of the causes of anxiety disorders among children at different stages.

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Parents and teachers ought to afford their children adequate attention to enable the child avoid feelings of rejection and insecurity (Rostami et al, 2017). Unpleasant emotions may stem from environmental, psychological and/or physical causes. Anxiety increases the severity of academic and social impairment. In addition, it leads to under achievement and poor performance academically. Anxiety blurs the child’s interactive and engagement ability. To a great extent, the research will focus on the behavioral, physiological and cognitive phenomena that will explain how anxiety affects the education of children. Assessment of children suffering from anxiety was subjected to a multifaceted, multi-trait, multi-setting and multi-method approach. This means that information was been obtained from a variety of sources (child, teacher and parent); the setting comprised of schools and homes whereas concerns were raised from behavioral traits both external and internal. Interviews were carried out to determine academic or cognitive difficulties. In addition, assessment involved poor relationships, coping skills and self esteem. Examination was also predicated on the child’s attributions, beliefs and thoughts.

Research objectives

  • To evaluate the behavioral, physiological and cognitive phenomena that will explain how anxiety affects the education of children.
  • To investigate the role of age, gender and genetics as one of the causes of anxiety disorders among children at different stages.
  • To assess the various ways that anxiety manifests to enable us espouse on how to deal with the phenomena.

Research questions

  1. What are the behavioral, physiological and cognitive phenomena that lead to among children?
  2. How do age, gender and genetics contribute to anxiety disorders among children at different stages?
  3. What are the various ways that anxiety manifests among children?


Anxiety ranks among the top concerns for mental health issues in children (Drake et al, 2015). Anxiety entails unpleasant emotional reactions or states premised on a combination of physiological changes and experimental qualities (Aydin, 2017). By and large, it is comprised of multiple behavioral, physiological and cognitive phenomena. Cognitive in the sense that it involves attention, memory and concentration problems; on the other hand, it is physiological as it entails stomachaches, headaches, heart palpitations, perspirations and muscle tension. Moreover, the behavioral aspect involves fidgety behavior and motor restlessness. Anxiety is classified into mild and severe anxiety; whereas the former is short-lived, the latter can be catastrophic since it is chronic as it proceeds into adulthood and as a consequence interferes with their functioning.

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Factors to be taken into account in responding to anxiety


Among children, pathological anxiety is a product of symptomatic inflexibility, dysfunction and degrees of stress (Rostami et al, 2017). Age is a crucial factor in both dysfunction and degrees of stress whereas it is irrelevant on symptomatic inflexibility (DeNoon, 2007). Although anxiety may manifest through various disorders, their features are largely similar. They include avoidance, chronic worry and attentional hyper-vigilance. States of anxiety are a consequence of activation of the sympathetic nervous system leading to bodily changes such as sweating, cardiac output, respiration and an increase in muscle tension. To a great extent, these individuals have faulty perceptions in the sense that they perceive less dangerous as being harmful though this is not often the case (Aydin, 2017). Hyper-vigilance is also another aspect related to anxiety; it is a response to threat cues perceived by the child as a result of reduced attention to real threats (Drake et al, 2015). Children suffering from anxiety suffer from both future and present worries. Whenever a child perceives existence of a present threat, escape and avoidance is the most likely response.


Among children, anxiety rates ranges 6% to 18%; in fact, research has found anxiety disorders to be among the leading cause of children mental health concerns (Lawrence et al, 2015). In addition, gender differences have manifested with boys found to be less susceptive to anxiety compared to the girls. However, studies have with clarity showed differences in anxiety in adolescent and child life with increase in age reported to have a corresponding increase in anxiety. The genesis of anxiety is marked at early childhood; are depression and anxiety the same? Researchers have held that there is a thin line between the two concerns but there have been a unanimous conclusion that they do have a relationship (Aydin, 2017). Both disorders share emotional distress as the defining factor with anxiety largely characterized by physiological arousal and depression a consequence of positive affectivity. Children affected by both disorders have also shown signs of conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and hyperactivity/attention deficit disorder.


Costs of treating anxiety are fairly high with psychiatric and non-psychiatric ranking top. Among children in the first grade; the relationship between academic performance and anxiety was found to be asymmetric (Suchert et al, 2015). Scholars have found that with regard to reading achievement, children with anxiety disorders were 24 times less acquainted compared to their peers without the condition (Aydin, 2017). Moreover, the same children were 8 times less conversant in math tests compared to their peers. Five years later, children suffering from this disorder were still 12 times less acquainted to reading math achievement in comparison to their peers (Drake et al, 2015).

Poor relationships

Poor relations are another factor that characterizes children with anxiety disorders(Rustavi et al, 2017). Compared to their peers, these children have negative perceptions about their interpersonal relationships and about themselves. Social isolation is the consequence of these poor relationships; moreover, their interaction with their peers is negatively affected. Schools are aware of the negative connotations that anxiety has on the academic and socio-emotional performance of the children (Drake et al, 2015). What qualifies schools to determine that the child is a victim of anxiety disorders and be placed in a special education platform?

  • A lack of the ability to learn devoid of health, sensory and/or intellectual factors
  • A lack of the ability to maintain or build relationship with teachers and peers
  • Inappropriate feelings or behaviors under ordinary circumstances
  • Depression and unhappiness on numerous occasions
  • Fears related to school or personnel
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Role of stimulus in determining anxiety

Antagonism between impulses and the ego of a child are the origin of anxiety (Drake et al, 2015). In this tug of war, anxiety is transferred or displaced to some other idea or form leading to birth of anxiety. Studies have asserted that anxiety is maintained and acquired through operant and classical conditioning. Association between aversive stimulus and neutral stimulus leads to fear; in response, the object that creates fear is avoided or the child escapes from it. For a child to reduce anxiety avoidance and/or escape are contingent; it is for this reason that studies have held that children experiencing anxiety are subject to interpretive and attentional biases (Aydin, 2017). This means that the child responds selectively to stimuli related to stress and interprets unclear stimuli as threats. At variance are researches through genetic data and epidemiological findings that have pegged anxiety to inheritance and genetics. However, these have been over shadowed by family and emotional factors that have been blamed for anxiety among children. Over-controlling parents and deficits in regulation of emotions have also been blamed for exposing children to anxiety thus making the concern largely behavioral (Rostami et al, 2017).

Problems associated with anxiety

Children have a variety of situations, circumstances and events that make them worry leading them into anxiety. This chronic and excessive state involves those they interact with such as school work, health, family and friends (Aydin, 2017). By and large, the child’s lack of ability to control their worry is what amounts to the disorder. The child experiences sleep problems, muscle tension concentration difficulties, irritability, fatigue and restlessness (Suchert et al, 2015). Among adolescents, anxiety may take the form of compulsions and obsessions. The latter is a consequence of recurrent worries or thoughts that interfere or cause distress with the ability of an individual to attain normal functioning. On the other hand, the former are a result of rituals or behaviors that the person carries out to relief against distress that is a consequence of dreaded situations or events. In children, compulsions and obsessions are premised on touching or counting, aligning, safety and contamination (Drake et al, 2015). Children suffering from anxiety may develop difficulties in achieving these routine rituals; this subsequently leads to perfectionists’ tendencies, preoccupations and concentration problems in schools.

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Recommendations and conclusion

The research had children interviewed to assess how they performed their tasks. Upon conclusion on their levels of anxiety, all stakeholders will be able to provide encouragement and support. In addition, after shedding light on the phenomena, parents and teachers will be enabled to spot anxiety and redirect the child to a less dangerous path. Moreover, through the study, children are encouraged to face their fears and in the long run avoid incidences of anxiety disorders into adulthood. Government and education stakeholders ought to make emotions and mental health part and parcel of the curriculum. Finally, children suspected to be suffering from anxiety disorders have to be helped through the various avenues set up.

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  1. Aydin, U. (2017). Test Anxiety: Do Gender and School-Level Matter?. European Journal of Educational Research, 6(2), 187-197.
  2. DeNoon, D. (2007). Your child and anxiety: School stress starts early. Retrieved from WebMD website: http://www. webmd. com/anxiety-panic/features/school-stress-anxiety-children.
  3. Drake, K. L., Stewart, C. E., Muggeo, M. A., & Ginsburg, G. S. (2015). Enhancing the capacity of school nurses to reduce excessive anxiety in children: Development of the CALM intervention. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 28(3), 121-130.
  4. Lawrence, D., Johnson, S., Hafekost, J., Boterhoven de Haan, K., Sawyer, M., Ainley, J., & Zubrick, S. R. (2015). The mental health of children and adolescents: report on the second Australian child and adolescent survey of mental health and wellbeing.
  5. Rostami, S., Banaeipour, Z., & Zarea, K. (2017). Relationship between the General Health of Mothers and the Anxiety of School-Age Children. International Journal of Pediatrics, 5(10), 5863-5870.
  6. Suchert, V., Hanewinkel, R., & Isensee, B. (2015). Sedentary behavior and indicators of mental health in school-aged children and adolescents: A systematic review. Preventive medicine, 76, 48-57.
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