Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Text Anxiety in Adolescents: The Role of Self-Criticism and Acceptance and Mindfulness Skills

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Text Anxiety in Adolescents: The Role of Self-Criticism and Acceptance and Mindfulness Skills

Article excerpt

The current study sets out to explore test anxiety in adolescent students. The effect of sociodemographic variables on test anxiety was controlled for and the relationship between test anxiety and other psychological constructs, such as self-criticism, social anxiety, acceptance and mindfulness, was examined. In addition, the predictive effect/power of these variables was analyzed and a comparative study between high and low test anxiety adolescents was conducted. Participants in this study were 449 high school students, 211 boys and 238 girls, with a mean age of 16.28 years. These participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires composed by the Portuguese versions of Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI), Child Acceptance and Mindfulness Measure (CAMM), Forms of Self-Criticizing/Attacking and Self-Reassuring Scale (FSCRS), and the Social Anxiety and Avoidance Scale for Adolescents (SAASA). Results showed that gender, self-criticism and competencies for acceptance and mindfulness had a significant and an independent contribution on the prediction of test anxiety. The comparative study revealed that adolescents with high test anxiety score significantly higher in negative forms of self-criticism, social anxiety and lower in self-reassurance, acceptance and mindfulness, when compared to those with low test anxiety. Despite its exploratory nature, the current study adds to the existing knowledge on the influence of psychological processes, such as self-criticism and acceptance, on test anxiety. These findings might constitute a relevant contribution to psychological intervention with adolescents.

Keywords: test anxiety, adolescence, self-criticism, acceptance and mindfulness.

Este estudio se propone explorar la ansiedad ante los exámenes en adolescentes. El efecto de las variables sociodemográficas fue controlado y se examinó la relación entre esta forma de ansiedad y la autocrítica, la ansiedad social, la aceptación y la conciencia plena. Además, se analizó el poder predictivo de estas variables y se realizó un estudio comparativo entre adolescentes con ansiedad ante los exámenes alta y baja. Participaron 449 alumnos de Educación Secundaria, 211 varones y 238 mujeres, con una edad media de 16.28 años. Los instrumentos de medida utilizados han sido: Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI), Child Acceptance and Mindfulness Measure (CAMM), Forms of Self-Criticizing/Attacking and Self-Reassuring Scale (FSCRS) y la Escala de Ansiedad y Evitación de Situaciones Sociales para Adolescentes (EAESSA). Los resultados mostraron que el género, la autocrítica y las competencias para la aceptación y atención plena tuvieron un efecto significativo y una contribución independiente sobre la predicción de la ansiedad ante los exámenes. El estudio comparativo reveló que los adolescentes con alta ansiedad ante los exámenes puntúan significativamente más alto en las formas negativas de autocrítica y de ansiedad social, y muestran niveles más bajos de autoconfianza, aceptación y conciencia plena, comparados con aquellos adolescentes con bajos niveles de ansiedad ante los exámenes. A pesar de su naturaleza exploratoria, este estudio completa los conocimientos existentes sobre la influencia de procesos psicológicos, como la autocrítica y la aceptación, en la ansiedad ante los exámenes. Estos hallazgos podrían así constituir una contribución relevante para la intervención psicológica con adolescentes.

Palabras clave: ansiedad ante los exámenes, adolescencia, autocrítica, aceptación, conciencia plena.

In Portugal, in university teaching context, exam anxiety appears as one of the problems that motivate a larger number of students to ask for support in psycho-pedagogic counseling facilities (Pereira, Masson, Ataíde, & Melo, 2004; Melo, Pinto-Gouveia, & Pereira, 2006). Despite the absence of empiric studies on high school teenagers, it is consensual that the perception of this phenomenon is very frequent. It is in this school stage that students decide the application to university, and school grade competition assumes a major role, generating greater anxiety. …

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