Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Anxiety among College Students

Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Anxiety among College Students

Article excerpt

A number of studies have continued to investigate cross-cultural differences in anxiety. However, the cross-national research on anxiety is still far less advanced than other psychological constructs such as schizophrenia or depression. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to compare and contrast the levels of anxiety experienced by American, Turkish, Mexican, and Philippines college students as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. A total of 1709 college students participated in the present study. Significant differences were found in terms of the levels of state and trait anxiety. On both state and trait anxiety, Philippines scored the highest followed by Turkish, Mexican, and American students. These findings also indicate negative correlations between age and anxiety levels, with the younger participants having lower anxiety levels.

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Systematic cross-cultural studies on psychopathology began after the World War II with a support from the World Health Organization (Good & Kleinman, 1985). Researchers have conducted a number of cross-cultural studies on psychiatric disorders in non-western societies (e.g., Chaturvedi, 1993; Weiser, Endler & Parker, 1991). Cross-cultural research on anxiety in particular is most closely associated with the works of Cattell and Spielberger (e.g., Cattell & Scheier, 1961; Spielberger, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1972, 1976).

In particular, a number of cross-cultural studies have continued to investigate cross-cultural differences in anxiety (e.g., Boehnke, Frindte, Reddy, & Singhal, 1993; El-Zanhar & Hocevar, 1991; Ginter, Glanser, & Richmond, 1994; Good & Kleinman 1985; Klonoff & Landrine, 1994; Magansson & Stattin, 1978; Mumford, 1993; Olah, 1995; Spielberger & Diaz-Guerrero, 1976; Spielberger & Sharma, 1976; Sharma, Dang & Spielberger, 1986). However, the cross-national literature on anxiety is still far less advanced than other psychological constructs such as schizophrenia or depression (Good & Kleinman, 1985).

A large number of cross-cultural anxiety studies have used the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch, Lushene, Vagg, & Jacobs, 1983) in measuring and comparing anxiety levels. For example, Spielberger, Sharma and Singh (1973) administered the A-State scale of the Hindu STAI to a sample of 92 graduate students in India and the results showed there was a greater increase in the STAI A-State scores for Indian students compared to Americans.

In a similar study, Sharma, Parnian, and Spielberger (1983) compared the test anxiety levels of Iranian (n = 160) and Indian (n = 160) secondary school and college students. The results indicated that the Iranian students had higher levels of test anxiety than their Indian counterparts. Tri-cultural differences in the test anxiety levels among the Iranian, Indian and U.S. student groups were interpreted as some eastern students showing greater anxiety levels.

Le Compte and Oner (1977) compared Turkish (n = 499), American (n = 1800), Puerto Rican bilingual (n = 481) and Hindu (n = 160) students' anxiety levels measured by the STAI. The order of the mean A-Trait scores from low to high was Puerto Rican, American, Hindu, and Turkish students. The order of the mean A-state scores from low to high was Hindu, American and Turkish/Puerto Rican.

Using the Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (CMAS), Iwawaki, Sumida, and Okuno (1967) found that, although adult Japanese have a higher level of general anxiety than adult Americans, Japanese nine-year-olds have significantly lower levels of anxiety than nine-year-old French and Americans.

A cross-cultural study of sex differences in anxiety (Ben-Zur & Zeidner, 1988) using the Hebrew version of Spielberger's State-Trait Personality Inventory (STPI/HB) with 223 female and 151 male students indicated similar scores to the norms available for American students. …

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