Is Academic Pressure A Social Pressure?
The American Psychological Association (APA) explains that social pressures include “rational argument and persuasion (informational influence), calls for conformity (normative influence), and direct forms of influence, such as demands, threats, or personal attacks on the one hand and promises of rewards or social approval on the other (interpersonal influence).” Peer groups play an integral role in young people’s lives, especially during adolescence. Social pressures are a confluence of pressures that present in one’s everyday life, such as peer pressure (the influence that these groups can have on how a young person thinks and acts), socioeconomic pressure, and academic pressure.
Academic pressure is defined as “an experience in which a student is burdened by the demands of time and energy to achieve specific academic goals. The stress can come from a variety of potential sources and have a myriad of impacts on students both emotionally and academically.” Academic pressure can cause an adolescent to experience emotional and/ or physical symptoms of stress. Stress is explained as the “feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.” Immense academic pressure can cause a young person to struggle with any of the following examples, provided by Stanford University:
- Obsession with grades
- Extreme competitiveness
- Changes in appetite
- Working constantly
- Stimulant abuse (e.g., caffeine, prescription medications, etc.)
- Sleep difficulties
- Inability to relax
- Social isolation
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed pastimes
Academic pressure does not always result in better grades and improved test scores. Research has found that excessive levels of academic stress can result in an “increased prevalence of psychological and physical problems like depression, anxiety, nervousness, and stress-related disorders,” which in turn can adversely affect academic results. There is no universally effective method to handle academic pressure, as every young person is unique. Some teenagers will require more support than others when navigating academic pressure.
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