At Thane’s John Baptist School on Saturday counsellors told parents that their children are anxious most about what society will think of them if they do poorly in exams. This fear causes them most harm.
This parenting lesson comes from a two-and-half-year study of students’ mind and fears that looked at academic stress of students in and around Mumbai.
“It is not only about parents, but peers, neighbours and how everyone in society judges you through your marks,” said Anuradha Sovani, head of the applied psychology department, University of Mumbai, who coordinated the study.
The study looked at academic pressures on schoolchildren in Mumbai and abroad, as well as on collegians in competitive courses. Most students ticked “most stressed” for ‘social stigma of faring badly’.
The study was conducted using the Friedban Test Anxiety Scale, an international measure of exam tension, with three parameters — social derogation (worries of being socially belittled because of failing), cognitive obstruction (poor concentration, recall, before or during a test) and tenseness (bodily and emotional discomfort).
“Physical symptoms of tension, such as body aches and exhaustion, were more prominent in adults. But students above 20 years could handle exam anxiety better,” said Dr Swati Bhave of the Association of Adolescent and Childcare in India that was part of the study.