Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Academic Performance, Resilience, Depression, Anxiety and Stress among Women College Students

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Academic Performance, Resilience, Depression, Anxiety and Stress among Women College Students

Article excerpt

Academic Performance in college students

It is a growing concern among educators that some college students continue to perform poorly in their tests and exams andhow it takes a toll on their mental health. Many university students continue to have low grades, while many manage to turn around their academic fortunes (Martin & Marsh, 2006). A safe and calm environment is important for academic performance, which includes physical, social, emotional, spiritual andpsychological well-being. Those who are experiencing psychological problems such as depression, and stress may face problems in managing their academic performance (Yasin &Dzulkifli, 2011).

There is a strong tie between students' overall health and resilience and their academic achievement (West, 2003). In summarizing studies on the relationship between children's emotional distress and achievement behavior, researchers found that students with frequent feelings of internalized distress (e.g., sadness, anxiety, depression) show diminished academic functioning and those with externalized distress (e.g., anger, frustration, and fear) exhibit school difficulties including learning delays and poor achievement (Roeser, Eccles & Strobel, 1998). Adolescents with depression are at increased risk for impairment in school and educational attainment (Asamow, Jaycox, Duan, LaBorde, et al., 2005).


There are considerable resources and interventions available for students with low academic performance and only recently have educators begun to tap into the power of resilience. Resilience, then, can be conceptualized as a process as well as a personal characteristic that can be developed over time and in response to the exposure to and subsequent effects of stressors (sometimes referred to as the "steeling effect")(Rutter, 2006). Over the past ten years, there has been much research that strongly supported resilience as one possible solution in helping at-risk students as well as all other students. Resilience is a strength based conceptthat all children have strengths andean be taughtto use their strengths to negate, inhibit, or moderate the affects of at-risk factors that can cause them psychosocial harm. Researchers have learned much about resilience such as it can be fostered in all children through protective factors such as caring adults, opportunities for involvement, and high expectations. Furthermore, researchers have known that resilience was fostered in the presence of adversity, and that it operated within the context of home, school, and the community.

Programs aimed at teaching academic resilience have proven highly effective in improving academic performance. A longitudinal study by Scales et al. (2003) found that higher levels of resiliency traits are strongly correlated with higher grade point averages (GPAs) among middle and high school students. Hanson and Austin (2003) conducted a longitudinal study of students in California and found that nearly every measure of resilience was positively related to concurrent test scores. The highest increases in test scores occurred in schools where the students reported high levels of resilience.

Solberg, Gusavac, Hamann, Felch, Johnson, Lambom, and Torres, (1998) identified six key skills as the foundations of educational resiliency: building confidence, making connections, setting goals, managing stress, increasing well-being, and understanding motivation. These factors are most closely linked to academic performance.

Depression, anxiety and stress

Furr, Westefeld, McConnell and Jenkins (2001) reported that 53% of 1,455 college students labeled themselves as being depressed since starting college and are attributed to academic issues, loneliness, financial difficulties and social relationship problems.

Greater resilience was associated with lower depression scores for students whose stress impeded their academic performance, irrespective of their sex and age (total R2 depression = 40%). …

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