The Effect of Ethnicity, Gender, and Age on Levels of Anxiety

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Anxiety is becoming a prevalent problem in American society. Bad news and tragedies that come from every source of media have got more than 18% of the adult population suffering from one of six anxiety disorders. I am researching the effects of ethnicity, gender, and age on levels of anxiety. It is hypothesized that Chinese students will be more anxious than Caucasians, females more anxious than males, and older students less anxious than younger students. The participants of this study are from the University of California, Irvine and are enrolled in SS3A in Winter quarter 2011. The students are from all majors and all class standings. Possible implications for my research included a small sample of freshmen students so the data on that may not be as accurate. Only two hypotheses were maintained; one was rejected. It was found that older students were not less anxious than younger students; again, there was not very much data collected for freshmen students.

The Effect of Ethnicity, Gender, and Age on Levels of Anxiety

Anxiety is a general mood triggered by a sense or fear that a thing or event is unavoidable (Seligman, 1994). Anxiety is not necessarily a negative thing, as it may commonly be perceived as. In fact, it typically prompts a person to recognize a negative event and begin looking for ways deal with it accordingly, which is moving toward a more positive state. Physiological responses to anxiety include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, fatigue, and nausea. The heart rate in the body speeds up as sweating increases. A normal reaction to anxiety is to cope with the negative event, and then move on. However, when anxiety is left unresolved, a sense of dread or doom may build up, leading to one of many anxiety disorders. There are several traits that can add to one’s likelihood of becoming anxious including ethnicity, gender, and age.

It is important to study anxiety and the populations most affected by it. Studies have found that more than 18% of the adult population suffers from an anxiety disorder (Comer, 2008). After gathering data on these populations, school psychologists would be more prepared to cater to their needs in counseling sessions, classes, etc. In this study, I will propose a series of questions to a large class of students enrolled in Social Science 3A at the University of California, Irvine. They will be students of all standings and all areas of study. The purpose of this study is to determine whether one's gender, ethnicity, and age affect one's level of self-perceived anxiety.


In this study anxiety differences between Caucasian college students from America and Chinese college students from China were measured in relation to certain personality traits such as perfectionism and collectivism. It was hypothesized in the study that the strength of correlation between the personality traits and anxiety would be different for both groups.

Xie, Leong, and Feng used 324 Mainland Chinese and 333 Caucasian college students for this study. The purpose of completing this study was to improve multicultural counseling in China and the USA (Xie, Leong, and Feng, 2008). The three culture-specific personality factors used in the study were collective self-esteem, independent/interdependent self-construal, and perfectionism. Surveys were made in English, translated into Chinese, and then back-translated into English and compared for discrepancies. Students were then given surveys in their introductory psychology classes.

The results of the study showed that collective self-esteem, interdependent self-construal, and perfectionism correlated highest with anxiety for the Chinese. Perfectionism is a trait that correlates with anxiety across almost every single culture (Xie, Leong, and Feng, 2008) and that holds true for Caucasians as well although not as much as it did for the Chinese students.

In this study, Borooah observes the...
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