Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Impact of Parent's Socioeconomic Status on Perceived Parental Pressure and Test Anxiety among Chinese High School Students

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Impact of Parent's Socioeconomic Status on Perceived Parental Pressure and Test Anxiety among Chinese High School Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study carries out empirical researches among Mainland Chinese high school students to explore the impact of parent's socioeconomic status on perceived parental pressure and test anxiety. The discoveries of the study include: perceived parental pressure has significant impact on test anxiety; parents' occupations, parents' income and mother's education have significant impact on perceived parental pressure; parents' occupations, parents' income and mother's education have significant impact on test anxiety. There are sufficient evidences to support the notion that the ethic stressing family glory and material success can be a major source of perceived parental pressure and test anxiety in China. Another finding of the study is that there may exist a mediation relationship among parent's socioeconomic status, perceived parental pressure, and test anxiety. By controlling perceived parental pressure, the mediator variable, the impact of parent's socioeconomic status on test anxiety can be greatly reduced.

Keywords: parent's socioeconomic status, perceived parental pressure, test anxiety, Chinese high school students, mediation relationship, family glory

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1. Introducation

Since filial piety, obedience, negation of conflict and reverence for parents and tradition are the core values of Chinese families (Lin & Fu, 1990), Chinese children tend to perceive more parental pressure than their counterparts from Western countries do (Chan, 1995; Crystal et al, 1994). Although a few studies discovered the relationship between parental pressure and test anxiety (Pang, 1991; Singh & Broota, 1992; Putwain, Woods, & Symes, 2010), they haven't dug deep into the factors determining the degree of perceived parental pressure. This article puts emphasis on exploring the impact of parent's socioeconomic status on both perceived parental pressure and test anxiety.

Test anxiety is defined as the anxiety subjectively relating to taking tests and exams, including anxiety related to the threat of failing an exam and the associated negative consequences such as psychological hyperarousal, negative thought patterns, a desire to escape from or avoid evaluative situations, inadequate performance on a test or other evaluation and difficulty in focusing on the task at hand, regardless of whether the fears were realistic (Sarason 1984: 930; Pekrun et al. 2004: 290; Hopko, Hunt, & Armento, 2005: 389-408). The relationship between test anxiety and test performance can be regarded as monotonically negative or even linear. That is, as test anxiety increases, performance is expected to decrease (Rocklin & Thompson 1985; Bodas & Ollendick, 2005).

A great deal of literature has established how test anxiety is influenced by both characteristics of the evaluative situation and personal factors. Zeidner's (1998) transactional process model of test anxiety specifies the following characteristics of the evaluative situation: nature of the task, difficulty, atmosphere, time constraints, examiner characteristics, mode of administration, and physical setting, and the following personal characteristics: trait test anxiety, need for achievement, self-efficacy, scholastic ability, information-processing capacity, study skills, and test-wiseness. Putwain (2007) reported that age, gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic background were significant predictors of test anxiety scores.

According to Putwain (2009), parental pressure is a factor related with students' socioeconomic background which may affect test anxiety. Parents are perceived as sources of pressure by students when they communicate messages perceived by the student as emphasizing conditions of acceptance based on achievement in examinations and others assessments, rather than the effort made. It is therefore, no surprise that perceived parental pressure is associated with poor social and academic adjustment (Baumrind, 1978; Campbell & Mandell, 1990; Maccoby & Martin, 1983) and an increase in test anxiety (Singh & Broota, 1992). …

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