Academic Stress and Adolescent Distress: The Experiences of 12th Standard Students in Chennai, India
AuthorRao, Abha Subba
AdvisorRussell, Stephen T
Committee ChairRussell, Stephen T
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMedia reports and interviews with counselors indicate that academic stress and adolescent distress is a significant problem in India, but little systematic research has been conducted on the issue. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was used in the current study - surveys assessed the prevalence of academic stress and adolescent distress, and interviews with 12th standard students explored their perceptions of the issue and their understanding of the role of parents.In the survey part of the study, the prevalence of the problem was assessed with the use of scales that measured depression and anxiety. Surveys were completed by 12th standard students (n = 588) from the south Indian city of Chennai. A majority of students reported that they were stressed by the coming school year, and rates of depression and anxiety were very high in the sample. In contrast with previous research and contrary to expectations, few gender, academic track and school type differences were found. Further analyses indicated that different groups of students appeared to experience distress in different ways.Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12th standard students (n = 24) to explore their perceptions of academic stress and adolescent distress. Their perceptions could be categorized into six themes: busy schedules, experience of stress, somatic symptoms, attitudes and beliefs about 12th standard, the role of God vs. hard work, and education reform. The same interview data was also used to understand the role of parents. Analysis suggested that parents were involved in their child's education in five ways - they had specific expectations for achievement, they put pressure on their children, they compared their child to others, they controlled the study environment, and they were supportive of their children. Some categories appeared to be associated with a greater experience of academic stress and adolescent distress than others. The interview data was also explored for gender, academic track, and school type differences.Jointly, these findings suggest that academic stress and adolescent distress is indeed a significant problem in Chennai, India. A variety of interventions are suggested to address the issue.
Degree ProgramFamily & Consumer Sciences