Female students reported a higher prevalence of anxiety than male students in middle and secondary schools in a national study published in theCanadian Journal of Public Health. Anxiety was studied in relation to students’ self-reported levels of confidence and challenge in language and math classes. The study showed that students’ with lower levels of confidence were more likely to experience anxiety regardless of the level of challenge they reported. A higher socio-economic status was shown to be a protective factor for females in middle schools and for all students in secondary schools.
The prevalence of anxiety did not vary substantially between middle and secondary schools. The majority of middle schools had an estimated prevalence of anxiety around 13.2 percent; secondary schools had a slightly lower estimated prevalence between 10 and 12 percent.
The study analysis is based on survey data from the fall term of 2008 when 5,650 youth attending 70 middle schools and 6,274 youth attending 46 secondary schools were surveyed. The survey tool “Tell Them From Me” is a web-based evaluation system conducted annually.
The authors would like to see further confirmation on the relationship between skills and challenge on student well-being in a separate study that links data on students’ academic achievement to student mental health outcomes.
See “The Prevalence of Anxiety among Middle and Secondary School Students in Canada” Canadian Public Health Association (November/ December 2010; 101 [Suppl. 3]: S19-S22) available at journal.cpha.ca.