ANXIETY LEVEL AS PREDICTOR OF ACADEMIC SELF-EFFICACY BELIEF AND ACADEMIC ADJUSTMENT AMONG UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS IN SOUTH –EAST, NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

This research work was designed to measure the extent to which anxiety level predicts academic self-efficacy belief and academic adjustment among undergraduate students. To accomplish this purpose, 5 research questions with corresponding hypotheses were formulated to guide in the proper conduct of this research. Ex-post factor research design was adopted and both primary and secondary data were made use of in the study. The instrument used for collecting data was the questionnaire. The population of the study consisted of 14,178 of 100 and 400 level students of faculties of Education, Engineering and sciences from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University, Uli. A multi stage random sampling technique was used to draw up a sample consisting of 880 undergraduate students of both gender; 544 males and 336 females. Mean scores, Standard Deviation and Peason Product Moment Correlation Analysis was used to answer research questions while Regression Analysis was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The major findings of the study showed that that there exist a direct but moderate positive relationship between anxiety level, self- efficacy belief and academic adjustment of undergraduate students. The result of the study also revealed that anxiety level significantly predicts academic self- efficacy belief and academic adjustment among male and female undergraduate students. The researcher recommends that; stake holders (University Authorities, psychologist and Counsellors should create awareness and organise seminars on the implication and impacts of anxiety level on academic self-efficacy belief and academic adjustment. University teachers waking up to their responsibilities to students will be a good help in arousing students interest and thus, increasing self-efficacy belief and consequently students’ academic adjustment in the University.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Achievement in learning is critical to students’ educational attainment and this implies that academic activities in school and their outcome might often arouse intense emotions which in one way or the other may likely affect students’ academic self-efficacy belief and academic adjustment. One of the emotional problems undergraduate students display in the university includes anxiety in confronting test or examination.
People react differently to anxiety. Common anxiety symptoms include irritability, muscular tension, inability to concentrate, trembling, depression, irrational behaviour, loss of appetite, and a variety of physical reactions such as headaches and accelerated heart rates. (Heath, 2008). All these symptoms may affect academic self-efficacy belief and academic adjustment among undergraduate students. Again, when a student is asked to stand and speak in front of a class, or is waiting for an examination or test to begin students might feel anxious. At one time or another, most undergraduate students feel anxious in some social situation to the extent that they may find it difficult to look into someone’s eye or talk to someone.
Anxiety has become part of everyday experiences for undergraduate students. Fortunately for most of them, it does not entail intense suffering endured by those with anxiety disorders of which there are three important types: generalized anxiety disorder in which a person for no apparent reason feels uncontrollably tense and uneasy. Phobic disorder in which the person feels irrationally afraid of a specific object or situation and obsessive – compulsive disorder in which the person is troubled by repetitive thoughts and actions (Kremer. 1994)

Anxiety is a problem that involves both the mind and body. A lot of undergraduate students are facing this problem today hence, demands urgent attention from well-meaning educators and scholars. Huberty, (1997) defined anxiety as a unique emotional state characterized by feelings of distress and tension about real or anticipated threats that may manifest in cognitive, behavioural, physiological patterns. It is a complex emotional state and may involve and influence multiple domains of a student’s functioning. Specifically, a student may experience cognitive, behavioural, and physiological effects. Common cognitive symptoms of anxiety include excessive worries, concentration difficulties, memory and attention problems. Anxiety may also be manifested through such behavioural symptoms as motor restlessness, difficulty sitting still, and attempts to escape or avoid anxiety-provoking stimuli or situation. Anxiety also includes physiological symptoms, such as muscle tension, increased perspiration, rapid heartbeat, headaches, and stomach-aches (Lowe & Raad, in Lopez, 2009).

According to Kring & Gordon, (1998), Anxiety as a unique emotion can be viewed in both positive and negative light. A slight amount of anxiety can be helpful, motivate and facilitate a student performance, whereas too much anxiety can be debilitating and hinder performance. For example, a student can become slightly anxious before a major examination. The slight anxiety felt can motivate the student to study for the examination thereby boosting his self-efficacy to do better because of the time spent preparing for the examination. In contrast, high level of anxiety may interfere with the student’s ability to concentrate, process information, or retrieve information from long-term memory. Under these circumstances, the student is less likely to perform his or her best in the examination.

Given all of these challenges, it is common for undergraduate students to feel uncertain about their own abilities and express frustration and anxiety over grades that accompanied academic activities which makes burning candle at both ends inevitable. Operationally, anxiety is the feeling of fear or panic about existing or presumptuous threat capable of positively or negatively affecting academic self-efficacy.
Although, the university campus is a regulated academic environment, undergraduate student s still feel free and engage in lots of activities that are social, academic and religious in nature which sways their academic self-efficacy.
Bandura (1995) defines self-efficacy as the belief in ones capabilities to organize and execute the courses of an action required to manage perspective situations. In other words, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation.

Academic self-efficacy is the belief a student has in his or her ability to accomplish academic task successfully, (Friedman, 1998). For instance, a lot of students arguably engage in romantic relationship on campus and this makes the issue of “heartbreak” in relationship and other consequences such as anger, depression and anxiety which are unfriendly to learning and capable of undermining students’ academic self-efficacy a common phenomenon.
Academic self-efficacy beliefs are people’s or student’s beliefs about their ability to produce desired outcomes through their own actions. These beliefs are among the most important determinants of the behaviors students choose to engage in and how much they persevere in their efforts in the face of obstacles and challenges. Therefore, they also are among the most important determinants of psychological well-being and adjustment. Although the term self-efficacy as a construct is of recent origin, interest in beliefs about personal control and ability has a long history in psychology. (Friedman, 1998).

Academic self-efficacy may be operationally defined as undergraduate students’ belief in their ability to attain their academic goal. Academic self-efficacy are undergraduate students’ convictions that they can successfully achieve academic task and attain their academic goal(s) which will consequently lead to positive academic adjustment.
According to Lahey (2004), adjustment is the ability of individuals to develop techniques to handle stress and conflict with the amount of support provided by their environment. The author however confirmed that there are no such things as ideally adjusted person. The author further stated that adjustment with university life is considered one of the main indicators of success in university life as it is an indicator for the student’s ability to face the problems resulting from fulfilling his academic, social and emotional needs. By adjusting with university life the students will be able to form a kind of good relationships with others in the university leading him to enhance his academic achievement.

The term adjustment refers to the extent to which an individual’s personality functions effectively in the world of people. It refers to the harmonious relationship between the person and the environment. In other words, it is the relationship that comes among organisms, the environment and the personality. A ‘well-adjusted’ personality is well prepared to play the roles which are expected of the status assigned to him with in a given environment. (Sabin, 2012).

Academic adjustment refers to the degree of a student’s success in coping with various educational demands such as motivation, application, performance and satisfaction with the academic environment (Baker and Siryk, 1999). It is a process involving psychological and behavioural change as individuals try hard to regulate themselves to achieve balance in their new academic environment and to meet the new learning requirements of a university. (Feng & Li, 2002 in Quan, 2014). Operationally, academic adjustment refers to individual and specific students’ organization of their behavoiur in order to strike.....

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 107 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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