Correlates of Student Anxiety: Considerations for Tier 1 Prevention and Intervention Within Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

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MacGillivray, Ben
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Mount Saint Vincent University
It is widely recognized that excessive anxiety has harmful effects on functioning and well-being among student populations. This is especially concerning because anxiety in students has shown to have increased over the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, it will be critical to further the knowledge around student anxiety, it’s correlates, and ways it can be managed. The aim of this study is twofold; to provide a literature review on student anxiety research from a school psychology perspective, and to test the relationship between anxiety and three variables that can be treated at a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) tier 1 level. Chapter 1 is a literature review on student anxiety; it describes the development of student anxiety research, highlights key correlates relevant to the school context, and discusses treatment and management options for student anxiety. Chapter 2 narrows its focus and tests whether physical activity, sleep hygiene, and self-esteem are important to self-reported anxiety in the COVID-19 context. In the results, sleep hygiene and self-esteem were individually correlated with self-reported anxiety, while physical activity was not. When all three predictor variables were used in a multiple regression model with anxiety, it was significant and accounted for thirty-four percent of the variance in self-reported student anxiety scores. Furthermore, a model using only sleep hygiene measures accounted for twenty-two percent of the variance in self-reported student anxiety scores. Results could provide simple and practical recommendations for professionals working in schools, most notably school psychologists.