Nevin Manimala Statistics

Lower socioeconomic status is related to poorer emotional well-being prior to academic exams

Anxiety Stress Coping. 2022 Aug 26:1-17. doi: 10.1080/10615806.2022.2110588. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: People of lower social status tend to have greater emotional responses to stress. The present study assessed whether lower social status was related to greater emotional responses in anticipation of a naturalistic stressor: academic exams among college students.

METHODS: College students in an introductory statistics class (N = 252; 75.81% female; 18.41% Latino, 25.10% White, 43.93% Asian, 12.56% different racial backgrounds) completed two course exams as part of this naturalistic prepost-experimental design. They provided four reports of positive, depressive, and anxious emotion – one the day before and one immediately after each exam.

RESULTS: As hypothesized, multilevel models (ratings nested within participants) predicting emotion indicated that students with lower mother’s education had less positive emotion, more depressive emotion, and more anxious emotion the day prior to academic exams than students with higher mother’s education (proportional reductions in variance [PRV] = .013-.020). Specifically, lower mother’s education was associated with poorer well-being before but not after the exam. Exploratory models revealed that differences in emotion by mother’s education were strongest for students with lower exam scores (PRV = .030-.040).

CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic status may influence college students’ anticipatory distress prior to academic exams, which may impact health and academic performance.

PMID:36018365 | DOI:10.1080/10615806.2022.2110588

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