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Anxiety, academic achievement, and academic self-concept: Meta-analytic syntheses of their relations across developmental periods
Development and Psychopathology  (IF4.151),  Pub Date : 2022-05-02, DOI: 10.1017/s0954579422000323
Laura E. Brumariu, Stephanie M. Waslin, Marissa Gastelle, Logan B. Kochendorfer, Kathryn A. Kerns

This systematic review examined how anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders relate to academic achievement, school dropout, and academic self-concept. Studies with children or adult samples were included in seven meta-analyses (ks for number of samples ranged from 5 to 156; N’s for participants ranged from 780 to 37, 203). Results revealed significant but very small effect sizes for the relations between anxiety and overall academic achievement (r = −.06), language achievement (r = −.07), and math achievement (r = −.09), and a nonsignificant effect size for science achievement (r = −.01). Participants with greater anxiety were also significantly more likely to not complete high school (r = .11). They also had a poorer overall academic self-concept (r = −.25) and mathematics self-concept (r = −.30). Few methodological moderators (e.g., study design, age) were significant. Results show that anxiety does not strongly hinder academic achievement, but it is an important correlate of dropout and academic self-concept, which in turn could contribute to poorer life outcomes. Interventions and preventive programs need to consider ways to ameliorate the relations of anxiety with academic outcomes, especially school continuation and academic self-concept. Future studies should identify risk factors that may amplify these relations.