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The Relationship between Anxiety and Academic

Performance of students


Anxiety is a common cause of poor academic performance among

students in every part of the globe. The aim of this study was
therefore to determine the relationship between and academic
performance of students. Anxiety is one of the major predictors
of academic performance. Students with anxiety disorder display
a passive attitude in their studies such as lack of interest in
learning, poor performance in exams, and on assignments. This
research observes the relationship between study anxiety level
and students’ academic performance. Result indicated that
generally students expressed anxiety during examination which is
seen as physiological, psychological and behavioral changes and
abnormality. The need for students to be counseled to maintain
optimal thought process and health during examination was
therefore emphasized.

Keywords: academic performance anxiety, anxiety disorder,

examination, stress.


Anxiety is a subjective feeling of tension, apprehension,

nervousness, and worry associated with arousal of the nervous
system (Spielberger, 1983). The high level of anxiety causes a
person’s normal life being difficult such as interfered
activities and social life. Anxiety is one of the wide varieties
of emotional and behaviour disorders (Rachel and Chidsey, 2005).
Students with anxiety disorder exhibit a passive attitude in
their studies such as lack of interest in learning, poor
performance in exams, and do poorly on assignments. The
anxiety’s psychological symptoms among students include feeling
nervous before a tutorial class, panicking, going blank during a
test, feeling helpless while doing assignments, or lack interest
in a difficult subject whereas the physiological symptoms
include sweaty palms, cold, nervousness, panic, fast pace of
breathing, racing heartbeat, or an upset stomach (Ruffins,
2007). The prevalence of anxiety among university students has
been acknowledgement by students and educators. However, study
anxiety is a real phenomenon; the importance of study anxiety is
particularly related to the sources of anxiety and how to handle
them. Anxiety while studying is a major predictor of academic
performance (McCraty, 2007 and McCraty, et al., 2000)
and various studies have demonstrated that it has a detrimental
effect. Little is known that there exist a possible association
between high level of anxiety and low academic performance among
students. Researchers revealed that high levels of anxiety
influence on the decrease of working memory, distraction, and
reasoning in students (Aronen et al., 2005). Tobias in Ibrahim
(1996) has been recognized that anxiety plays significant role
in student's learning and academic performance; moreover anxiety
has been known to have both facilitating and debilitating
effects on academic achievement. Researchers have been looking
at the correlation of anxiety and the effect of academic
performance among school students, they found that among high
school students with higher level of anxiety have lower academic
performance (McCraty, 2007) and greater anxiety would be
associated with poorer academic achievement (Luigi et al.,
2007). Students with high level of anxiety have a reduced memory
span, lose concentration, and lack confidence, and poor
reasoning power. The element can be described as anger and
regret in engineering students when feel anxiety in difficult
situations related with their study. Generally, high level of
anxiety was more closely associated with lower performance among
low ability students (Sena et al.,2007).


Definition of anxiety was presented to describe of anxiety

relate with students’ experience during study, namely study
anxiety, and study anxiety effect on academic performance display
theories consider with relationship of anxiety and performance.

Anxiety has been categorized by into several psychiatric

disorders as follows:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Individuals that suffer this
condition live each day in a state of high tension, feeling
uneasy and tends to overreact even in mild stresses.

Panic Disorder: This is characterized by episodes of acute and

overhauling apprehension to terror; it begins
abruptly and reaches a peak within 10 minutes with such symptoms
as perspiration, muscle tremors, faintness and
shortness of breath. Eventually this fear intensifies and
interferes with every day school activities thus disrupting
concentration, classes, reading, assignments and decision –
making resulting to poor academic performance.

Agoraphobia: Involves intense fear and anxiety of any place or

situation where escape might be difficult, leading to avoidance
of the situation such as being alone outside the home,
travelling in a car, bus, airplane, writing an examination or
being in a crowded place.

Phobias: It is a persistent fear of specific object or

situation. The fear occurs when the phobic individual is brought
in contact with the object or situation. This reason is why some
students perform badly in certain courses, it is estimated that
the life time prevalence of phobias in women 17.7% compared to
10.4% in men.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders: Individuals with this condition

feel compelled to think about, things they would rather not
think about or perform acts they do not wish to carry out.
Obsessions are persist irresistible urges to carry out certain
acts or ritual. Obsessive thoughts may be liked with compulsive
acts, example thoughts of brushing your teeth many times before
attending a class.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: It is a type of anxiety

that occurs after a frightening event or situation.
This affect academic performance because, some students
continue to dwell in their past failure and are unable
to face the new challengers before them. These students
often perform poorly academically since they fail to
concentrate on the new challenges.

Academic performance of students

Academic performance is a term used to describe the
rating of a student following an examination. This is
an important aspect of a student's life and is known to
be influenced by various factors including anxiety and
level of hard work/preparations done prior to the

The present study

The present study examines the relationship between anxiety and
academic performance of the students. Furthermore, the present
study aims to investigate the level of student’s anxiety and
effects of it to the performance of students in schools.


The population in this study are undergraduate students
at Divina Pastora College. The students who have low
academic performance because of their anxiety in school
works. Students with low academic performance were
participating in this test, students receive STAI for
measuring anxiety level. I chose this study because
students nowadays have a big fear/ anxiety about school
works. They feel pressure about school works and their
peer pressure and they only do the requirements because
of anxiety that they may fail the subject if they
The test aimed to find the relationship of study
anxiety and academic performance among undergraduate
students. Immediately participants giving a test,
testing also aims to select trainees who have been
identified in high anxiety and low academic performance
were to participate in this training. The participants
came to the lab and fill in the questionnaire include
the S-Anxiety scale (STAI Form Y-1) and T-Anxiety scale
(STAI Form Y-1). The STAI has 40 items of question and
took approximately 20 minutes to complete. The students
first read and answered if they had problems the
researcher will guide students to answer the questions.
This test was based on the faculty, after two weeks who
have high levels of anxiety and low academic
performance were offered to participate in this study.
Result of the test was used to find out correlation
between anxiety and academic performance.

The relationship of high level anxiety upon academic
performance was examined by Pearson correlation. The
correlation measured for normal distribution of data.
The significant coefficient and coefficient of
correlation are examined to find out the results.