Worrying levels of anxiety and depression symptoms among high school students

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According to data collected from students at five Montreal high schools during the COVID-19 crisis, young people report symptoms of academic stress, general stress, social anxiety and depression.

related to COVID-19 worry it appears that it is not much: between 432 Secondary 3 and 4 students In the 2020 and 2021 survey, only 6% said they were very worried about the disease and 19% were moderately worried.

These are some of the findings from a study conducted by Gabrielle Yale-Soulière, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal, under the supervision of Professor Lise Turgeon.

However, stress related to COVID-19 is moderately associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, general anxiety and social anxiety, according to Ph.D. student Emmanuelle Ayotte, who contributed to the study. There is little correlation between stress related to COVID-19 and academic stress.

Symptoms of generalized anxiety, social anxiety and depression

In a study of students from five high schools in the Montreal area, 37% reported experiencing high levels of general anxiety symptoms, while 46% experienced moderate symptoms.

Anxiety is generally associated with worries that are difficult to control; it is accompanied by symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension and sleep problems.

Great value social violence 32% of students responded and the average grade was reported by the same number.

One in two students (52%) said they suffer from symptoms of depression, 26% to a high degree and the rest to a moderate degree.

Finally, 15% of the students reported experiencing high levels of stress associated with them academic achievementand 18% average level.

“Our results also show that these problems are almost twice as common among girls than boys,” Yale-Soulière said. “Non-binary students experience higher levels of anxiety.”

Academic stress is not in writing

The first phase of the study is part of a larger research project on academic performance anxiety among high school students that Yale-Soulière is conducting under Turgeon’s supervision. It is one of the first studies of its kind in Quebec.

“We want to find tools that can help reduce academic stress and we understand that there is little documentation of this phenomenon, so it became the focus of our research,” said Yale-Soulière. Yale-Soulière.

The search team has to overcome some unexpected obstacles along the way. The ensuing pandemic forced them to take courses in remote sensing.

“Initially, we wanted to survey 2,000 students, but due to the outbreak, our colleagues in the five schools are overwhelmed with work,” said Yale-Soulière. “Also, obtaining consent from 581 parents remotely proved to be no easy task.”

The PASTEL project aims to reduce academic stress

During the first three phases of the study, Yale-Soulière became interested in how to reach young people with academic stress.

In collaboration with Boscoville, Yale-Soulière, who is also a psychologist, is working to develop PASTEL, a program to help young people to reduce academic stress. It is currently being tested on 48 young people.

“It’s a turnkey package that consists of a six-hour workshop for groups of 4-12 youth who have been selected for their stress reading activities,” says Yale-Soulière. “During the workshops, we share cognitive restructuring techniques, problem solving techniques, expressive skills and organizational and study skills to help children overcome their anxiety while studying or taking a test.”

“Given the number of study participants and some limitations of the questionnaire, our results cannot be generalized to all of Quebec. high school studentsYale-Soulière and Ayotte warned. “However, they suggest research methods for future studies and, above all, show the importance of helping. youth solve their problems.”

Analysis: Worrying about GCSE exams has no effect on grades

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