Study claims anxiety may HELP with academic success 

Anxious students are more likely to graduate high school on time than their peers, a new study claims.

The Canadian study claimed that students with high levels of anxiety were 10 percent more likely than their classmates to have graduated by two years after the normal time high school ends.

The findings shocked the team of researchers, who noted that prior studies have shown that increased levels of anxiety actually increase the risk of dropping out.

Anxiety is defined as a state of uneasiness or apprehension about future uncertainties, or a fear of an event or situation that could be perceived as being threatening. 

A Canadian study claimed that students with high levels of anxiety were 10 percent more likely than their classmates to graduate on time (stock image)


Experts at the University College London and Oxford University found that the longer someone stays in education, the lower their risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Those who were educated for an extra 3.6 years after school – roughly the length of an average undergraduate degree – were 33 per cent to have a heart attack in later life.

The researchers believe this is because educated people subsequently less likely to smoke, eat healthier diets and exercise more.

They are also likely to get better jobs, which means they have higher incomes and suffer less stress and anxiety – which is hugely beneficial to cardiovascular health.

The research, published last night in the British Medical Journal, is the strongest evidence to date about the health benefits of education.

Many previous studies have found that university graduates are healthier – but critics have always pointed out that they are likely to be from richer backgrounds to start with, and have all the health benefits of a privileged youth. 

‘We expected a linear relationship between anxiety level and the risk of dropping out,’ said lead author Professor Frederic Nault-Briere at the University of Montreal, according to Medical Xpress. 

‘In other words, the higher the anxiety, the greater the risk of non-completion.

‘The findings, however, resulted in a bell curve. It’s the first time such a relationship has been observed.’  

The research team conducted a longitudinal study of 5,469 students in Quebec from primarily disadvantaged backgrounds in francophone schools around the city. 

Dr Nault-Briere said he was not surprised that highly-anxious students have a greater risk of not completing their secondary studies. 

That, he said, is on track with what other studies on the subject have found. 

But he was not expecting the relationship between low anxiety and high risk of dropping out. 

However, after conducting the study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, he said he assumes that connection is because the lack of anxiety causes these students to care less in general about their studies. 

‘This result regarding students without anxiety is intriguing, and can’t be explained by socioeconomic factors or academic or behavioral problems,’ Dr Nault-Briere said. 

‘Our hypothesis is that these students may be more likely than others to be bored or that they feel little emotion overall, which can affect their commitment to school.

‘As with athletic performance or other cognitive tasks, a certain amount of anxiety or stress seems to help maintain academic commitment and promote success.’ 

Studies around school non-completion have previously focused on causes of academic difficulties or behavioral problems, and have not delved into problems like anxiety. 

And these findings might contradict other studies that look at the relationship between dropping out and psychological problems.