Tag Archives: Anxiety

Kent State University study: College students who spend hours online get lower grades

25 Dec

Moi wrote in Social media addiction: Alexandra Rice is reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Bleary-Eyed Students Can’t Stop Texting, Even to Sleep, a Researcher Finds:

Students, the researchers found, were losing an average of 45 minutes of sleep each week because of their cellphones.
The phones were disrupting sleep and, in turn, were associated with higher rates of anxiety and depression because of insufficient rest. While depression is a well-documented side effect of a lack of sleep, Ms. Adams said, the anxiety element was something new.
Students already average a “sleep debt” of two hours each night, according to Ms. Adams’s study, which reflects similar findings from national sleep studies. Her study and others suggest that college students need nine and one-quarter hours of sleep each night, though they get an average of only seven hours. So losing those extra 45 minutes hurts even more. The students who had the highest rates of technology use also had higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with the rest of the students in the Rhode Island study.
The main message of her study, Ms. Adams said, is that college students struggle to set boundaries for themselves. Unlike high-school students, many of them don’t have anyone around telling them to put the phone away.
For Ms. Adams and other researchers studying the topic, finding out why students feel compelled to always answer their phones at night is an important piece of the puzzle. The most common reason, as reported by several researchers, is wanting to not miss out on something. An invitation to a party, a bit of gossip from a friend, or a text from a significant other all warrant staying awake just a little bit longer. Like the chicken and the egg, it’s hard to determine which comes first: the unwillingness to disconnect or the anxiety and loss of sleep. http://chronicle.com/article/Bleary-Eyed-Students-Cant/129838/

Jason Dick has Internet Addiction and Children Hidden-Dangers and 15 Warning Signs http://ezinearticles.com/?Internet-Addiction-and-Children-Hidden-Dangers-and-15-Warning-Signs&id=546552 See also Disabled World’s Internet Addiction in Children http://www.disabled-world.com/health/pediatric/internet-addiction.php and CNN’s Internet Addiction Linked to ADHD, Depression in Teens http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/05/depression.adhd.internet.addiction/index.html?_s=PM:HEALTH Help Guide. Org has a good article, Internet Addiction on treating internet addiction in teens. http://www.helpguide.org/mental/internet_cybersex_addiction.htm According to a Kent State University study, teens who are internet addicts may have problems in college. https://drwilda.com/tag/internet-addiction-treatment/

AP reported in the article, Ohio study: heavy online use can mean anxiousness:

College students reading this story and others online for hours may become more anxious and less happy.
A new Kent State University study says college students who spend hours each day online, texting or talking on cellphones are more anxious, less happy and get lower grades.
The Ohio researchers say this appears to be the first study correlating cellphone use to anxiety and happiness.
The study was done by Andrew Lepp, Jacob Barkley and Aryn Karpinski.
The researchers interviewed 536 students representing 82 different majors.
The students recorded daily cellphone use. Each took validated social science tests that measure anxiety and satisfaction with their life, or happiness.
“The lower frequency users use their phone to keep in touch, check the web and update Facebook but they can put it away and get on with other tasks,” Lepp told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer (bit.ly/1jO6PP7).
“The higher users are not able to control it and are glued to the cellphone. They need to unplug and find some personal time where they can disconnect from the network,” he said.
“You need time to be alone with your thoughts, recover from the daily stressors in a way that doesn’t involve electronic media.”
The researchers selected college students for their study because they are the first generation to grow up immersed in the technology.
The research grew out of a study last summer by Lepp and Barkley on the relationship between cellphone use and cardiorespiratory fitness. Those results showed that students who had higher cellphone use were less fit.


The relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life in college students
• Andrew Lepp Corresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author,
• Jacob E. Barkley E-mail the corresponding author,
• Aryn C. Karpinski E-mail the corresponding author
• Kent State University, College of Education, Health and Human Services, Kent, OH 44242-000, USA
• Measured cell phone use (CPUse) to include the device’s complete range of functions.
• CPUse was negatively related to students’ actual Grade Point Average (GPA).
• CPUse was positively related to anxiety (as measured by Beck’s Anxiety Inventory).
• GPA was positively and anxiety was negatively related to Satisfaction with Life (SWL).
• Path analysis showed CPUse is related to SWL as mediated by GPA and anxiety.
While functional differences between today’s cell phones and traditional computers are becoming less clear, one difference remains plain – cell phones are almost always on-hand and allow users to connect with an array of services and networks at almost any time and any place. The Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project suggests that college students are the most rapid adopters of cell phone technology and research is emerging which suggests high frequency cell phone use may be influencing their health and behavior. Thus, we investigated the relationships between total cell phone use (N = 496) and texting (N = 490) on Satisfaction with Life (SWL) in a large sample of college students. It was hypothesized that the relationship would be mediated by Academic Performance (GPA) and anxiety. Two separate path models indicated that the cell phone use and texting models had good overall fit. Cell phone use/texting was negatively related to GPA and positively related to anxiety; in turn, GPA was positively related to SWL while anxiety was negatively related to SWL. These findings add to the debate about student cell phone use, and how increased use may negatively impact academic performance, mental health, and subjective well-being or happiness. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563213003993

Here is the press release from Kent State:

Frequent Cell Phone Use Linked to Anxiety, Lower Grades and Reduced Happiness in Students, Kent State Research Shows
Posted Dec. 6, 2013
Today, smartphones are central to college students’ lives, keeping them constantly connected with friends, family and the Internet. Students’ cell phones are rarely out of reach whether the setting is a college classroom, library, recreational center, cafeteria or dorm room. As cell phone use continues to increase, it is worth considering whether use of the device is related to measurable outcomes important for student success, such as academic performance, anxiety and happiness.
Photo of Kent State student with cell phoneKent State University researchers Andrew Lepp, Ph.D., Jacob Barkley, Ph.D., and Aryn Karpinski, Ph.D., all faculty members in the university’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, surveyed more than 500 university students. Daily cell phone use was recorded along with a clinical measure of anxiety and each student’s level of satisfaction with their own life, or in other words happiness. Finally, all participants allowed the researchers to access their official university records in order to retrieve their actual, cumulative college grade point average (GPA). All students surveyed were undergraduate students and were equally distributed by class (freshman, sophomore, junior and senior). In addition, 82 different, self-reported majors were represented.
Results of the analysis showed that cell phone use was negatively related to GPA and positively related to anxiety. Following this, GPA was positively related to happiness while anxiety was negatively related to happiness. Thus, for the population studied, high frequency cell phone users tended to have lower GPA, higher anxiety, and lower satisfaction with life (happiness) relative to their peers who used the cell phone less often. The statistical model illustrating these relationships was highly significant.
Earlier this year, a team led by Lepp and Barkley also identified a negative relationship between cell phone use and cardiorespiratory fitness. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that students should be encouraged to monitor their cell phone use and reflect upon it critically so that it is not detrimental to their academic performance, mental and physical health, and overall well-being or happiness.
The study reported upon here is published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior (2014), pages 343-350, DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2013.10.049 and can be accessed at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563213003993.
For more information about Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, visit http://www.kent.edu/ehhs.
# # #
Media Contacts:
Andrew Lepp, alepp1@kent.edu, 330-672-0218
Jacob Barkley, jbarkle1@kent.edu, 330-672-0209
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595

There is something to be said for Cafe Society where people actually meet face-to-face for conversation or the custom of families eating at least one meal together. Time has a good article on The Magic of the Family Meal http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1200760,00.html See, also Family Dinner,The Value of Sharing Meals http://www.ivillage.com/family-dinner-value-sharing-meals/6-a-128491

Looks like social networking may not be all that social.


Two studies: Social media and social dysfunction https://drwilda.com/2013/04/13/two-studies-social-media-and-social-dysfunction/

Children’s sensory overload from technology https://drwilda.com/tag/sensory-overload/

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Study: Early stress in girls may be the source of later anxiety

13 Nov

Prolonged stress can have adverse effects on humans. Moi wrote about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study in Study: Some of the effects of adverse stress do not go away:

Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, Research Traces Impacts of Childhood Adversity:

Research from Dr. Shonkoff’s center and from other experts finds that positive stress—the kind that comes from telling a toddler he can’t have a cookie or a teenager that she’s about to take a pop quiz—causes a brief rise in heart rate and stress hormones. A jolt can focus a student’s attention and is generally considered healthy.

Similarly, a child can tolerate stress that is severe but may be relatively short-term—from the death of a loved one, for example—as long as he or she has support….

Toxic’ Recipe

By contrast, so-called “toxic stress” is severe, sustained, and not buffered by supportive relationships.

The same brain flexibility, called plasticity, that makes children open to learning in their early years also makes them particularly vulnerable to damage from the toxic stressors that often accompany poverty: high mobility and homelessness; hunger and food instability; parents who are in jail or absent; domestic violence; drug abuse; and other problems, according to Pat Levitt, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Southern California and the director of the Keck School of Medicine Center on the Developing Child in Los Angeles…. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/11/07/11poverty_ep.h32.html?tkn=QLYF5qldyT3U0BI0xqtD5885mihZIxwbX4qZ&cmp=clp-edweek

Here is information about the Adverse Child Experiences Study. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides access to the peer-reviewed publications resulting from The ACE Study. http://acestudy.org/


Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior published a study which looks at the effects of stress on girls.

Science Daily is reporting in the article, Early Stress May Sensitize Girls’ Brains for Later Anxiety:

High levels of family stress in infancy are linked to differences in everyday brain function and anxiety in teenage girls, according to new results of a long-running population study by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists.

The study highlights evidence for a developmental pathway through which early life stress may drive these changes. Here, babies who lived in homes with stressed mothers were more likely to grow into preschoolers with higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. In addition, these girls with higher cortisol also showed less communication between brain areas associated with emotion regulation 14 years later. Last, both high cortisol and differences in brain activity predicted higher levels of adolescent anxiety at age 18.

The young men in the study did not show any of these patterns.

“We wanted to understand how stress early in life impacts patterns of brain development which might lead to anxiety and depression,” says first author Dr. Cory Burghy of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior. “Young girls who, as preschoolers, had heightened cortisol levels, go on to show lower brain connectivity in important neural pathways for emotion regulation — and that predicts symptoms of anxiety during adolescence….”

The current paper has its roots back in 1990 and 1991, when 570 children and their families enrolled in the Wisconsin Study of Families and Work (WSFW). All of the children were born in either Madison or Milwaukee. Dr. Marilyn Essex, a UW professor of psychiatry and co-director of the WSFW, said the initial goal was to study the effects of maternity leave, day care and other factors on family stress. Over the years, the study has resulted in important findings on the social, psychological, and biological risk factors for child and adolescent mental health problems. Subjects are now 21 and 22 years old, and many continue to participate.

For the current study, Burghy and Birn used fcMRI to scan the brains of 57 subjects — 28 female and 29 male — to map the strength of connections between the amygdala, an area of the brain known for its sensitivity to negative emotion and threat, and the prefrontal cortex, often associated with helping to process and regulate negative emotion. Then, they looked back at earlier results and found that girls with weaker connections had, as infants, lived in homes where their mothers had reported higher general levels of stress — which could include symptoms of depression, parenting frustration, marital conflict, feeling overwhelmed in their role as a parent, and/or financial stress. As four-year-olds, these girls also showed higher levels of cortisol late in the day, measured in saliva, which is thought to demonstrate the stress the children experienced over the course of that day. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121111152930.htm#.UKEogDfvMTo.email


Nature Neuroscience | Article

Developmental pathways to amygdala-prefrontal function and internalizing symptoms in adolescence

Nature Neuroscience
23 July 2012
11 October 2012
Published online
11 November 2012

Early life stress (ELS) and function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis predict later psychopathology. Animal studies and cross-sectional human studies suggest that this process might operate through amygdala–ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) circuitry implicated in the regulation of emotion. Here we prospectively investigated the roles of ELS and childhood basal cortisol amounts in the development of adolescent resting-state functional connectivity (rs-FC), assessed by functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI), in the amygdala-PFC circuit. In females only, greater ELS predicted increased childhood cortisol levels, which predicted decreased amygdala-vmPFC rs-FC 14 years later. For females, adolescent amygdala-vmPFC functional connectivity was inversely correlated with concurrent anxiety symptoms but positively associated with depressive symptoms, suggesting differing pathways from childhood cortisol levels function through adolescent amygdala-vmPFC functional connectivity to anxiety and depression. These data highlight that, for females, the effects of ELS and early HPA-axis function may be detected much later in the intrinsic processing of emotion-related brain circuits.

Stress has negative effects on the body.

According to the Mayo Clinic article, Stress symptoms: Effects on your body, feelings and behavior:

Common effects of stress …
… On your body … On your mood … On your behavior
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal

Source: American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” report, 2010


This study points to the need for quality prenatal care.

The March of Dimes discusses stress during pregnancy in the article, Emotional and life changes:

What types of stress can cause pregnancy problems?

Stress is not all bad. When you handle it right, a little stress can help you take on new challenges. Regular stress during pregnancy, such as work deadlines and sitting in traffic, probably don’t add to pregnancy problems.

However, serious types of stress during pregnancy may increase your chances of certain problems, like premature birth. Most women who have serious stress during pregnancy can have healthy babies. But be careful if you experience serious kinds of stress, like:

  • Negative life events. These are things like divorce, serious illness or death in the family, or losing a job or home. 
  • Catastrophic events. These are things like earthquakes, hurricanes or terrorist attacks. 
  • Long-lasting stress. This type of stress can be caused by having financial problems, being abused, having serious health problems or being depressed. Depression is medical condition where strong feelings of sadness last for long periods of time and prevent a person from leading a normal life. 
  • Racism. Some women may face stress from racism during their lives. This may help explain why African-American women in the United States are more likely to have premature and low-birthweight babies than women from other racial or ethnic groups. 
  • Pregnancy-related stress. Some women may feel serious stress about pregnancy. They may be worried about miscarriage, the health of their baby or about how they’ll cope with labor and birth or becoming a parent. If you feel this way, talk to your health care provider.

Does post-traumatic stress disorder affect pregnancy?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is when you have problems after seeing or experiencing a terrible event, such as rape, abuse, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or the death of a loved one. People with PTSD may have:

  • Serious anxiety 
  • Flashbacks of the event 
  • Nightmares 
  • Physical responses (like a racing heartbeat or sweating) when reminded of the event

As many as 8 in 100 women (8 percent) may have PTSD during pregnancy. Women who have PTSD may be more likely than women without it to have a premature or low-birthweight baby. They also are more likely than other women to have risky health behaviors, such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or taking street drugs. Doing these things can increase the chances of having pregnancy problems. If you think you may have PTSD, talk to your provider or a mental health professional.

How does stress cause pregnancy problems?
We don’t completely understand the effects of stress on pregnancy. But certain stress-related hormones may play a role in causing certain pregnancy complications. Serious or long-lasting stress may affect your immune system, which protects you from infection. This can increase the chances of getting an infection of the uterus. This type of infection can cause premature birth.

Stress also may affect how you respond to certain situations. Some women deal with stress by smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or taking street drugs, which can lead to pregnancy problems.

Can high levels of stress in pregnancy hurt your baby later in life?
Some studies show that high levels of stress in pregnancy may cause certain problems during childhood, like having trouble paying attention or being afraid. It’s possible that stress may also affect your baby’s brain development or immune system.

How can you reduce stress during pregnancy?
Here are some ways to reduce stress:

  • Figure out what’s making you stressed and talk to your partner, a friend or your health care provider about it. 
  • Know that the discomforts of pregnancy are only temporary. Ask your provider how to handle these discomforts. 
  • Stay healthy and fit. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep and exercise (with your provider’s OK).
  • Exercise can help reduce stress and also helps prevent common pregnancy discomforts. 
  • Cut back on activities you don’t need to do. 
  • Have a good support network, including your partner, family and friends. Ask your provider about resources in the community that may be able to help. 
  • Ask for help from people you trust. Accept help when they offer. For example, you may need help cleaning the house, or you may want someone to go with you to your prenatal visits. 
  • Try relaxation activities, like prenatal yoga or meditation. 
  • Take a childbirth education class so you know what to expect during pregnancy and when your baby arrives. Practice the breathing and relaxation techniques you learn in your class. 
  • If you’re working, plan ahead to help you and your employer get ready for your time away from work. 
  • If you think you may be depressed, talk to your provider right away. There are many ways to deal with depression. Getting treatment and counseling early may help.

Last reviewed January 2012 http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/lifechanges_indepth.html

See, The Importance of Quality Prenatal Care http://www.mdnews.com/news/2010_07/national_jul10_the-importance-of-quality-prenatal-care

Our goal as a society should be:

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©


The Effects of Stress on Your Body                                           http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body

The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress                              http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/the-physical-effects-of-long-term-stress/all/1/

Chronic Stress: The Body Connection                            http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53737

Understanding Stress Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Effects http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm

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