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The Cause and Level of Anxiety Amongst High School Students

Paul Juralowicz
Science
Ballenas Secondary School

STAI Score Frequency Amongst Students (All Grades) Percent of Students Affected by an Anxiety Source (All Grades)
Abstract 25 100
84
92 88

Percent of Students Affected


90
20 80 70

High school is a stressful place. That is undeniable. It is also 20 19


18
19 19 70
60
59 56

Percent of Studnets
16 17 16 45 46 42
50 36 39 38
15 40 31 32 31 34 30 32 28 31
15 14 13 13 28 25 24 24 23 24 28 27 23 19

home to a wide variety of young adults in many different age 30 23 21 21 17


17 16 18 16
12 20 14 13 12 12 12 14 14
9 9 10
10 8 9 0
7

groups and gender groups. However, the statement “high


6 6
5 6 5
5 4 3
3 3
1 1 1 1 1 1

school students are stressed” begs for clarification. So that is


0 0 0 0 0 0
0
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80
STAI Score Cause of Anxiety

what I set out to do. After analyzing data gathered in the Male Female Both Figure 1 Male Female Both Figure 2
“North America Psychology Study”, I constructed a STAI Score Frequency Amongst Students (Grade 8)
Percent of Students Affected by an Anxiety Source (Grade 8)
30

questionnaire, similar to the past study’s questionnaire, and 27 100 93 88


81

Percent of Students Affected


90
25 80 63
70 58
21 60 49 46

sent copies out to each homeroom teacher so they could

Percent of Students
50 42 39
20 19 31 36 30 34 32
40 27 28 27 29 27 29 26 27 25
17 17 30 23 23 21 21 21 21 22 20 20 18 18
16 17 17 15 17 15 17 14
15 20 10 8 6 10
15 14 14 13 10
13 13

administer the questionnaire to their students. After 10


9
12
8
6
8
6
10
7
0

5 5 5

analyzing my school’s data, I found that the school’s anxiety 5

0
0 0 0
4

0
2
4 4

0
4

0 0 0 0
2 1

is comparable to a mix of high school students and PHD / MD 20 25 30 35 40 45 50


STAI Score
55 60 65 70 75 80 Cause of Anxiety

Male Female Both Figure 4


students from the past study. Females are generally more STAI Score Frequency Amongst Students (Grade 9)
Male Female Both Figure 3
Percent of Students Affected by an Anxiety Source (Grade 9)
stressed than males (figures 1), grade eight females are the 40

35
38
100
84 87 86

Percent of Students Affected


90
80 71

group with the highest stress level (figure 3), the two biggest 30
Percent of Students

27 70 60
60 52
25 43 46
50 41 37 41 36
19 35 31 35 35
19 40 30 29 29 24 28

causes of stress are school work and self judgment (figure 2), 20 25 22 27 26 26 26
16 16 30 19 21 19 17 20 16
14 16 13 16 12 13 13 15
14 20 11 10 8
15 13 12 12 6 6
12 11 10
10 10
9 8 0

and social media is one of the lower sources of stress (figure


10
6 6
4 4
5 3 3 3 3
1 1 1 1 1 1
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0

2). 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
STAI Score
55 60 65 70 75 80

Cause of Anxiety
Male Female Both Figure 5 Figure 6
Introduction 30
STAI Score Frequency Amongst Students (Grade 10)
Percent of Students Affected by an Anxiety Source (Grade 10)
Male Female Both

The method of anxiety evaluation in “North America 25 120

Percent of Students Affected


25 96 94
100 90
21
20
Percent of Students

19 19 19 80

Psychology Study” was the “State-Trait Anxiety Inventory” 20

15
16
13
15 15 60
40
45
65
58
39
54
46
32
38 35
29
38
31 26 29 30 26 27 27 26 27 23
12 12 23 23 23 19 21 21 16 21 19
(STAI). The STAI is twenty questions long with four possible
16 17 18 13 17 18
10 10 10 20 10 12 14 13 8 10
10 8 8
6 6 0
6
5 5
4

answers per question in the range of “almost never” to 5 3 3 3


1 1 2 1
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80

“almost always”. Then, based on the participants’ answers, STAI Score


Cause of Anxiety
Male Female Both Figure 7 Figure 8
they are given a score from 20, meaning essentially zero Male Female Both

STAI Score Frequency Amongst Students (Grade 11) Percent of Students Affected by an Anxiety Source (Grade 11)
anxiety, to 80, meaning extremely high levels of anxiety. 30 29
100 92
86

Percent of Students Affected


90 81 77
24

Ideally, participants should average around a score of about


25 23 80
70 64 62
59
Percent of Students

19 60 54
20 48 46 46 46 44
18 18 50 43 43
39 38
40 33 33 31 31 34 34 31 31

50, with lower scores being even better. The STAI was
15 15 28 28 26
14 14 30 24 21 21 24 23 20 20
15 19
14 10 12
20 12 12 12 10 13 13
11 10 10
10 10
10 0

included on my questionnaire without modification. A 7 7 7 8


6
5 5 5 5 5
5 4
3 3
1

section dedicated to the “Brief Sensation Seeking Scale”


0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80
STAI Score

(BSSS) was also included in both questionnaires. This section Male Female Both Figure 9 Male
Cause of Anxiety

Female Both
Figure 10
evaluates how much a participant seeks sensation by asking 40
STAI Score Frequency Amongst Students (Grade 12) Percent of Students Affected by an Anxiety Source (Grade 12)
36 100 92 87

the participant how much they agree/disagree with a 83


Percent of Students Affected

35 90 76
80 70 70
29 70 64
30 59
Percent of Students

60 51 48 46

situation. Sadly, this data was not used as the correlation 50 43


25 22 22 38 38 35 38 35
40 33 33 31 30 29 32 30 25 30
29 27 24 24
30 24 21 21
20 18 19
16 14 14 12 11 15
14
20 7 8 11 11 11

between BSSS and STAI was almost non-existent. Finally, my 15

10 7
11
9 9
12 11 11
10
14
11 12
8
10
0

5 5 5 5 5

questionnaire included a section that recorded grade, 5

0
0 0 0
2
0
1
3 2
0
3
0 0 0 0 0 0

20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80

gender, and which sources of anxiety effected each STAI Score


Cause of Anxiety
Male Female Both Figure 11 Figure 12
participant Male Female Both

Students of Specific Genders Amongst Grades Number of Students in each Grade


160

Discussion
300
139
140
250
37
Frequency of Gender

120 109

Amongst all grades, school work and self judgement are 42


Number of Students

200 39
100
42 52 84 83
150 79
80

consistently the two biggest sources of anxiety, with social 100


31

63
69
1
1
60
2

anxiety and social acceptance taking the third and fourth


50 40
1 1
48 59
1 1 1 3
0 20
Male Female Non-Binary Trans-Male Trans-Female Other

place in most cases (figure 2). Notable exceptions are social Gender 0
Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12

Figure 13 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12 Grade Figure 14


acceptance being replaced with extracurricular activities in
grade 10 (figure 8) and social acceptance being replaced by finances in grade 12 (figure 12). Both STAI graphs
and anxiety source graphs show females are consistently more stressed than males. (figures 1-12). Contrary
to popular belief, social media is one of the lesser causes of stress amongst students (figure 2). An argument
could be made that self judgement and social media could be linked, with the self judgement coming from Special Thanks
social media, but that would make the assumption that 43% of students are in denial (figure 2). Without Thanks to Professor Lisa Hamilton from Mount
making assumptions, the data says social media is not as bad as commonly thought. On the subject of STAI Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick,
scores, some odd trends are observed. Ideally, each STAI graph should have a Gaussian curve(ask savage), Canada, for providing the “North America
with a peak/average being in the middle (optimally about 40-50). The male portion of the school almost Psychology Study” data set, Mr. Savage for his
shows this sort of curve, with an average of about 40-45, although there is a bit of a drop between 35 and 40 constant support, Mrs. Slaughter for editorial
(figure 1). The female portion of the school makes a symmetrical structure of essentially two linear lines, one help, and all the Ballenas teachers who
ascending to a peak at 50 and the other descending from that peak (figure 1). The entire school’s score administered the questionnaire.
almost makes a gaussian curve, but has an odd peak at 35, mostly thanks to the males (figure 1).
Note: Although data for genders other than male and female were gathered, there were not enough students
in these categories to make an observable trend.