CAUSES OF ACADEMIC ANXIETY AMONG TERTIARY INSTITUTION STUDENTS (ILORIN METROPOLIS OF KWARA STATE AS A CASE STUDY)


CAUSES OF ACADEMIC ANXIETY AMONG TERTIARY INSTITUTION STUDENTS (ILORIN METROPOLIS OF KWARA STATE AS A CASE STUDY)  

ABSTRACT

Anxiety is a state of emotional or physical disturbances induced in a person by a real or imagined threat. It is a state of tension, uneasiness, worry or apprehension about what has happened and or will happen. Anxiety is characterized by feeling of frustration, anger, rejection, sadness, despair, hate, depression, confusion, worthlessness and dilusionent.

The total of three hundred (300) respondents would be selected from the institution to participate in the study. Instrument used for the study titled causes of academic related anxiety (CARAQ). The questionnaire has two section (A and B) section A of the questionnaire contain items on the personal information of respondents while section B contains items on the causes of anxiety among the tertiary institution students. 

Six null hypotheses were generated for the study. After testing the hypotheses, the results showed that their no significant different on causes of academic related anxiety based on gender, types of institution, marital status, age made of residence and religion. 

Based on the find of the study, the tertiary institution in Kwara State had some academic anxiety, which requires the attention of stakeholders in the field of education, school counsellor government agency and non governmental agency to assist. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Title page i

Approval ii 

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements iv

Abstract vi

Table of Contents vii

List of Tables ix

CHAPTER ONE 

INTRODUCTION 

Background to the study 1 

Statement of the problem 13 

Research questions 15

Research Hypotheses 17

Purpose of the study 19

Significance of the Study 19

Scope of the Study 22

Operational Definition of Terms 22

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE REVIEWED

Introduction 24

Nature and meaning of anxiety 25

Concept of Academic Anxiety 32

Theories of Anxiety 34

Types of Anxiety 39

Causes of Anxiety 47

Effect of Anxiety 53

Symptoms of Anxiety 54

Fight and Flight Symptom 58

Experience of Tertiary institution students on Needs 60

Factors Influencing students’ performance 65

Separation from Family and Natural support System 68

Reluctance to participate in class discussions due to 

lack of confidence in English ability 69

Summary of Review of the Related Literature 70

CHAPTER THREE

METHODOLOGY

Introduction 73 

Research Design73

Instrumentation 76

Pilot Testing 77

Psychometric properties of the Instrument 77

Reliability of the Instrument 77

Validity of the Instrument 78 

Procedure for Administration and Data Collection 80

Data Analysis Technique 81

CHAPTER FOUR 

RESULT 

Introduction 88

Hypotheses Testing88

Summary of Finding 95

CHAPTER FIVE 

DISCUSSION, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

Introduction 97 

Discussions 97 

Conclusion 102

Implication of the finding 104 

Recommendations 105

References 106

Appendix 110

LIST OF TABLES 

Table 1: Distribution of respondents based on 

Gender 83

Table 2: Distribution of respondents’ based on 

institution 83

Table 3: Distribution of respondents based on 

marital status 84

Table 4: Distribution of respondents based on age 85

Table 5: Distribution of respondents based on mode 

of residence 85

Table 6: Distribution of Respondents based on 

Religion 86

Table 7: Mean and Rank order of respondents on 

the causes of academic related Anxiety 87

Table 8: Mean, standard Deviation and t-value of 

respondents on the causes of academic 

related anxiety based on Gender 89

Table 9: Means, standard deviation and t-value of

respondents on the causes of academic 

related anxiety by marital status 90

Table 10: Means, standard Deviation and t-value of

respondents on the causes of academic 

related anxiety on the basis of age 91

Table 11: Mean, Standard Deviations and t-value of

respondents on the causes of academic 

related anxiety on the basis of mode of 

residence 92

Table 12: Mean, Standard Deviation and t-value of

 Respondents on the causes of Academic 

Related Anxiety on the basis of Religion 93

Table 13: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Results 

comparing responses on causes of academic

related anxiety on the basis of institution 94

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION  

Background to the Problem 

Anxiety is one of the characteristic of human beings. Hence, to a certain extent, it is not necessarily pathological but on the contrary can be a strong motivation force towards growth. Anxiety results from the need to make rational choice without clear guidelines and without knowing what the outcome will be and from being aware that people were ultimately responsible for the consequences of our action (Covey, 1995). Anxiety usually occur when there is immediate threat to a person’s safely or well being. 

Anxiety makes a person to want to escapes an anxious situation fast (Covey, 1995). The heart beats quickly, the body might begin to perspire and “butter flies” in the stomach soon follow. However, a little bit of anxiety can actually help people stay alert and focused (Taylor & Francis, 2003). Anxiety is a basic human emotion consisting of fear and uncertainly that typically appears when an individual perceives an event as being a threat to the ego or self esteem (Samson, 1998). 

Samson (1998) defined anxiety as emotional stressful condition, within the organism. The deletenous effects of anxieties permeate both the mind and the body and if not controlled could hinder the functioning of the entire organism. Akinade (2005) defined anxiety as a phenomenological state of uneasiness or tension. From the external frame of reference anxiety is a state in which the incongruence between the concept of the self and the total experience of the individual causes emotional unbalance. Anxiety is a pervasive and unpleasant feeling of tension, dread, apprehension and impending disaster (Taylor & Francis, 1999) in the otherhand, fear is a response to a clear and present danger. The anxiety is often a response to an undefined conflict or unknown threat, which may stem from interact conflicts, feeling of insecurity or forbidden impulses. In both fear and anxiety, the body mobilizes itself to meet the threat and the muscles become tense, breathing is faster and the heart beats mere rapidly (Corsini, 1999). 

According to Zetzel (1995), man is essentially a complex organism with variety of moods and emotions, which can be triggered by anything, which is enjoyable or displeasing. Anxiety is one of the psychological discomforts that can be triggered by anything that is stressful, threatening depressing and frustration. Even anticipation of something pleasant can cause anxiety (Hilgard and Altinkson, 1995).  Various rule, situations, responsibilities, academic and social climate. Organisation policies and demands are inbred areas for anxiety. Ashaolu (2001) confirmed that anxiety is a cognitive and effective response characterized by apprehension about an impending potentially negative that are thinks is unable to avert. It is identical with normal fear but rising in response to external threat. Also, an unrelieved external danger from which flight is impossible produces reactions indistinguishable from pathological anxiety. Adenuga and Adesemowo (1998) define anxiety as a state of emotional or physical disturbances induced in a person by a real or imagined threat. It is a state of tension, uneasiness, worry or apprehension about what has happened and or will happen. Anxiety is characterized by feeling of frustration, anger, rejection, sadness, despair, hate, depression, confusion, worthlessness and dilusionment.

Anxiety is the most frequently occurring consequences of unresolved conflicts and frustration. It is often associated with other related emotions or state of human experiences such as fear, anger, conflicts, frustrations, depression and stress Morgan and King (1991). Shaolu (2001) explained that anxiety and fear are interwoven. However, he distinguished anxiety from fear by stressing that fear refers to apprehensive reaction to some external, definite or non-conflictual dangers which is an internal vague or conflictual sense of a feeling of apprehension of which the individual has only partial awareness. Anxiety and stress are closely related and often interchangeably. Excessive stress leads to anxiety or vice versa. The two are often induced by the same factors with same strategies suggested for by Ashaolu (2001), Adeoye (1985) defined anxiety as one of the psychological symptoms of stress. Oyedepo (2000) stated that when a person is under stress, he or she feels tension and anxiety because the difficulties in his or her life. Ashaolu (2001), noted that people experiencing stress may have disturbances such as fear, anxiety, depression and guilty. 

However, this study will treat anxiety as distinct from stress. 

According to Ashaolu (2001), anxiety in its external form is seen as a more general feeling, which is not clearly and specifically attached to any apparent cue. The general apprehension and tension of the anxious individuals are due in part to over activity of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which produces physical symptoms such as irregular heart rhythms, gastric discomfort, bowel disturbances, visual difficulties, cold hands, cold feet and tense muscles, particularly in the back or shoulder. Admonishing a patient to relax has no effect, constantly sense: the physically exhausts himself and complains of fatigue and a failure memory. This memory loss is not real in the sense that any organic deterioration is responsible. It more often results from the patients in ability to pay attention because he is so distracted by the tension he is constantly under (Ashaolu, 2001). He sees anxiety as a common reaction to the stress of a crisis, he stressed that people undergoing anxiety are usually ill, depressed, chronically fatigue and generally unable to face life. He explains further that such people we unable to maintain interest in everybody activities and preoccupied with wanting to get away from whatever is causing the anxiety. 

Anxiety is a type of neurosis which according to Ashaolu (2001) has identified as the root of all neurotic difficulties, people with phobias are those who show unusual fears of certain things or places or fear of speech, darkness, snake, elevators, anxiety can be distinguished from fear, as it has no specific stimulus effect. With fear, as it has no specific stimulus effect. With fear however, there is a specific threat to the person. The vagueness of its cause has led some psychologists to refer to it as “free floating” which means that it is not attached to anything specific, which the person can identify. Anxiety is defined as “apprehension without apparent cause”. It usually occur when there is no immediate threat to person’s safety or well being, but threat fells real. Anxiety makes a person want to escape the situation fast”. The heart beats quickly, the body might begin to perspire, and “butterflies” in the stomach soon follow. However, a little bit of anxiety can actually help student stay alert and focused. Having fears in anxieties about certain thing can also be helpful because it makes students behave in a safe way. For example, student with a fear of failure would avoid playing with academic pursuit. Many students are tormented by fears that stem from child-hood experiences. A student’s fear of public speaking may be the result of embarrassment infront of peers many years before (The Nemours Foundation 2005). 

Ashaolu (2001) summoned up anxiety as a state of tension uneasiness and nervousness hat comes as a result of feeling threatened by a presumed potentially negative outcome. In spite of the negativity presented about anxiety, anxiety has been said to have positive effects on human functioning. Ashaolu (2001) pointed out that a certain degree of anxiety arousal or activation is prerequisites to adequate everyday functioning but he also maintained that too much activation can be debilitating producing severe discomfort for the individual and those around him especially when anxiety reaches high levels of intensity, frequency, duration and generality. Anxiety can be experienced anywhere of which the school place is no exception. 

Aggraval (1981) defined education as a process, which enable an individual to adjust himself to the environment. Also Good (1973) defined education as a social process in which are achieves societal competence and individual growth carried an in a selected and controlled setting (environment) which can be institutionalized as a school or college, education has been defined in many different ways according to educational philosophers, scholars and other researchers. 

Education is a process of cultural transmission and renewal, the process whereby the adult members of the society carefully guide the development of the younger ones, initiating them into the culture of that society. (Collaway, 1975). This concept is often expressed not only by educational historians but also by sociologists and psychologists who study education. Collaway (1975) held the view that life is education and education is life. On the other hand, he believed that a good education consists of giving to the body and the soul all the beauty and all the perfection of which they are capable. 

Awoyemi (2005) stated that, education I viewed as a life long process aimed at all-round development of an individual. Hence, education serves as an instrument for the individual to develop himself, live in harmony and contribute to the development his or her society. She also described it as the sum total of all the experiences and activities that an individual in a given society encounters. 

Thus, education is taken as the most important means of developing human resources for national development. This accounts for their reason why the Federal Government of Nigeria made it clear in the National Policy on Education, that education is an instrument per Excellence for effective development (FGN, 1988). 

Hilgard and Artikinson (1995) noted that people experiencing anxiety are strongly motivated to do something to alleviate discomfort through the various unconscious defence mechanisms which students or academicians resort to and other strategies use to get on in life. According to Hilgard, Arkinson and Artkinson (1995), anything that threatens the well-being of the organism is assumed to produce a state of conflicts and other type of frustrations that black the individual progress toward a goal provide are source of anxiety. Threat to physical harm, threats to one’s self-esteem and pressure to perform beyond one’s capabilities also produces anxiety. Ashaolu (2001) in his opinion believes that mild anger called hostility usually arouses anxiety because the expression of anger or hostile behaviour, which has in the past been punished. He opined that anxiety could also occur through the generalization of fear from one situation in which fear was learned to other similar situations like terminal examinations, class tests, study habits, taking of nites, truancy during lectures, inactive participation in the class or lecture, financial problems causing delay in getting handout at the appropriate time and for the students can copy by reading ahead of the terminal examinations and class test, taking correct nites from others, be active participated in the lectures an get handout at the appropriate time. While situations that are anxiety provoking in schools or colleges are when the teachers or lecturers entered into the class or lecture room and gives a quiz or unprepared test to the students, fix unpronounced lectures or unfixed lectures on the time table, psychological needs are anxiety provoking in schools or colleges. 

It is therefore, necessary to investigate the causes of academic anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State. Anxiety is a state of tension that motivates us to do something though the experience of anxiety cannot be traced to any cue yet, there are unconscious realities that causes anxiety (Ashaolu, 2001). 

Statement of the Problem 

Abiri and Daramola (1991), said that there is no way a research can be carried out until a problem is recognized, deliberated upon and formulated in a useful way. Selecting and formulating a problem is one of the most important aspects of understanding research in any field. 

Anxiety is a basic human emotion consisting of fear and uncertainly that typically appears when an individual perceives an event being a threat to his or she ego or self-esteem. An unhealthy or in unhapply students cannot performed excellently in his or her academic programme. Some of the most threatening events that could cause anxiety among students are examination, problems of academic pursuits, students and parents’ interest and eventually problems that would come up during the course of study.  Also, many students have the cognitive ability on academic pursuit but many not do so because of the high level of anxiety and the society emphasis placed or studies this could potentially limit their educational, economic and vocational opportunities (Zeidner, 1990). 

Although different researches (Dusakin 2000, Ashaolu 2001, Osiki and Busari, Danike 2002, Ibrahim 2005, Dada 2005 and Ezenwa 2006) have been conducted an anxiety nothing has been done so far on the causes of academic related anxiety among the students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State as far as the knowledge of the researcher is concerned. So, also, it is the gaps left behind by the aforementioned researchers that the present study intends to bridge. However, the major problem in this research study is to find out the causes of academic related anxiety employed by students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State. 

Research Questions

This research work intends to find out the various causes of academic related anxiety employed by students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State. For the purpose of the study, the following questions have been raised to guide the conduct of the study. 

1. What are the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State? 

2. Is there any difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institution in Kwara State on the basis of types of institution? 

3. Is there any difference in the causes of academic anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of gender? 

4. Is there any difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of marital status? 

5. Is there any difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of age? 

6. Is there any difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of mode of residence? 

7. Is there any difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of religion? 

Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses based on the following, research questions will be formulated and selected in the study. 

(1) There is no significant difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of gender. 

(2) There is no significant difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of type of institutions 

(3) There is no significant difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of marital status. 

(4) There is no significant difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of age. 

(5) There is no significant difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of mode of residence. 

(6) There is no significant difference in the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on the basis of religion. 

Purpose of the study 

The main purpose of the study is to find out the causes of academic related anxiety among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State. 

Also, the study intends to investigate the influence of students’ gender, type of institutions, marital status, age, mode of residence, school location among students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State on their academic related anxiety. 

Significance of the study 

The pressure to succeed and excel in the academic is much on students, hence during academic pursuit; students of tertiary institutions are anxious and tend to take to how to curb the anxiety. 

The data from this study would of immense benefit in the sense that it might provide useful information to lecturers, the students, parents and the members of the society in general. 

More so, the students would be of great benefit greatly since, whenever they have examination or academic related anxiety, they adjust to the moderate level of anxiety. Lecturers, or teachers would create the awareness to the students before given any test or and examination to them and lecturers or students should attend conferences, workshops and seminars for new knowledge on how to reduce anxiety of the students (during any interrogation on academic pursuit or programme). Then, the school counsellor would be able to counsel the students on the awareness of the strategies to use whenever they are aware that their level of anxiety is high. So also, the school administrators should organize seminar and make policy on how to handle the students’ anxiety. 

Finally, the ministries of education should embark upon routine inspectors to schools, and anchor meeting at different occasions either quarterly or monthly so that, this will guide the students, teachers or lecturers and others in order to reduce the students’ academic anxiety. Parents should allow the students or words to move a their own rate or interest, they should not impose anything on the students and the school administrators should organize or create time for Parents Teachers Association in the school to help both the parents and the students interest, so, these groups of people would benefit immensely from the study and it will also help the psychologists who are directly or indirect involved in the students’ activities especially with anxiety generated and to be adjust to anxiety level. 

Lastly, this research work would also pave way for further researches on academic pursuit in tertiary institutions in Kwara State in particular and in Nigeria as a whole. 

Scope of the Study

The respondents in this study will be the students of tertiary institutions in Kwara State. These tertiary institutions include: University of Ilorin in Central Senatorial district. Ilorin, Kwara State College of Education, Lafiagi in North Senatorial District, Ilorin, Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State College of Education Oro, in South Senatorial district. The reason for using these tertiary institutions is to cover the three senatorial districts in Kwara State. 

Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms were operationally defined as used in this study to aid understanding. 

Anxiety:  A painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill, an as normal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by doubt concerning the reality and nature of threat and by self-doubt about one’s capacity with it. 

Academic related anxiety: Anxiety generated by situations of apprehension during individual academic pursuit in which anxiety is provoked. 

Causes of anxiety: These are activities or circumstances such as threat, physical stress, emotional stress, fatigue, overworking and grief which generates among students of tertiary institution.

Tertiary Institution: Are post-secondary educational establishments where higher degrees or education or learning is effected. 

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CAUSES OF ACADEMIC ANXIETY AMONG TERTIARY INSTITUTION STUDENTS (ILORIN METROPOLIS OF KWARA STATE AS A CASE STUDY)



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