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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Anxiety Awareness among IIUM Students

Arina Diyanah Azwa


1119004
Nurul Natasha Md Noor
1119306
Kulliyah of Economics and Management Sciences
International Islamic University Malaysia

English for Academic Writing


LE 4000 Section 37
Tutor: Miss Hasni Mustapha

Date: 5th December 2014


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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Abstract
Anxiety refers to the unnecessary unpleasant feeling of dread over current or future
events that might or might not happen. People with anxiety usually have a sense of worry,
fear or muscle tension. The purpose of this study aims to investigate the level of awareness of
anxiety among IIUM students. The objectives were to indicate whether the students are aware
of social anxiety that might be suffered by them and the most common factor that contributes
to feeling anxious. Questionnaires were distributed to thirty randomly selected individuals in
IIUM. Paper-based questionnaire was used and the results were interpreted in visual graphs
form. The results indicated that the most common factor that leads to anxiety is due to fear of
negative evaluation from others. Meanwhile, easily tired and having problem in concentrating
and remembering things were the main symptoms that a student might have anxiety. It can be
concluded that, most students are afraid about being judged and evaluated negatively by
others. They also feel easily tired resulting in them having problem in concentrating and
remembering things especially during presentation. This study may have the implication that
students, especially the lower level students need to be aware of their level of anxiety by
knowing the factors and being able to avoid the symptoms that bring anxiety found in this
study. This is because their life can be negatively affected due to anxiety. Furthermore, few
limitations were experienced while conducting this study. The result obtained may be limited
as they were very much generalised. Future researchers are advised to revise their
questionnaires and increase the number of respondents for the academic purpose.

Keywords: unnecessary worry, uncomfortable feeling

ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Understanding Anxiety Awareness among IIUM Students


Introduction
One of the symptoms of anxiety is when people have unnecessary worry over certain
things and not being able to control them. According to UK statistics, the age group that
shows the highest level of anxiety is between 35 to 59 years old, the middle age group. It is
also estimated that about 3.3% of children and young adults in UK suffer from anxiety.
There are many different types of anxiety that people can suffer from. They are social
anxiety, test anxiety, stranger anxiety and also stage fright. If the anxiety feeling in a person
prolongs, one might suffer from anxiety disorder. Some might say that anxiety disorder can
be genetic.
People with anxiety usually tend to feel negative and constantly worry about
unforeseeable events and this can affect their social life in general. Some might confuse
anxiety with shyness but actually, anxiety is more serious than what people perceive. When
the feeling of anxiety is too much too handle, it can take over someones thinking and this
affect not only their social life, but also their work productivity as it is hard to focus and
concentrate and also their relationships with friends and family.
According to Greca and Lopez (1998), some of the factors that can lead to anxiety are
fear of negative evaluation, social avoidance and distress in general and lastly, avoidance
specific to new situations or unfamiliar peers. Fear of negative evaluation is when a person
worries about what others think of them. The person constantly thinks that people are going
to say negative things about him that whenever he engages in any social behaviour thus can
cause a person to feel anxious. The second factor as mentioned by Greca and Lopez (1998)
was social avoidance and distress in general whereby a person is naturally quiet whenever he
is with a group of people, even when the group of people are people who he knows very well.
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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

The third and last factor is avoidance specific to new situations and unfamiliar peers (Greca
and Lopez, 1998). One of the situations where a person might feel this way is
when he gets nervous when meeting new people.
As mentioned by Barlow (2002), anxiety is viewed as a complex
construct that consists of three components: cognitive, behavioural, and
physiological. The first component is when a person is affected by the
negative perception from others and fears that he might be judged.
Behavioural component on the other hand refers to the degree to which
an individual avoids or escapes from an anxiety-provoking situation (Claire
et al., 2009). Physiological components include the symptoms of anxiety
that can be felt by the person, for example, sweating, heart palpitation
and blushing.
Woodruff et al. (2014) describes the people with anxiety to be
negatively affected when being percept by people especially when the
person fails to deliver up to the expected standards of the audience.
Peoples anxiety increases as individuals perceive greater discrepancy
between the audiences expectations and their own self-representation
(Woodruff et al., 2014).
According to a study made by Mishra and Suar (2011), the feeling of
anxiety can be combined together with the feeling of guilt, anger,
hopelessness and denial. In this study, we are also determined to find out
if students feel unmotivated in life, guilty, hopeless and also depressed.
As Ree et al. (2008) assert in their study, the cognitive cluster aims
to capture features of anxiety that are directly related to thoughts (e.g.,
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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

worry, intrusive thoughts, difficulty concentrating) (as cited in Van Dam


et al., 2013, p.71)

The objectives of this study are:


1. To evaluate the main factors that lead to anxiety among IIUM students
2. To identify the symptoms that contribute to anxiety among IIUM students
The two research questions that are needed to be answered are:
1. What are the most common factors that lead to anxiety among IIUM students?
2. What symptoms indicate anxiety among IIUM students?
Methodology
Respondents of the Study
In this research, 30 undergraduate students from International Islamic University Malaysia
have been randomly chosen to participate in this study. They consisted of 5 male students and
17 female students from various kulliyahs which are Kulliyah of Economics and
Management Sciences, Kulliyah of Law, Kulliyah of Engineering, Kulliyah of Architecture
and Environmental Design, Kulliyah of Human Science and also Kulliyah of Information and
Communication Technology. Random sampling was used in this study because all IIUM
students were having at least low level of anxiety and we assumed there is no difficulty in
answering the questionnaire.
Materials/Research Instruments
The material used to carry out this research is paper-based questionnaire that was designed
based on reviews from relevant literature. We prepared a set of 10 questions, some of them
adapted from an online questionnaire regarding anxiety. The questions were separated into
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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

two sections. The first section consists of the information of respondents profiles and five
questions about the factors lead to anxiety. The second section consists of five questions,
assessing respondents responses that were rated according to a Likert-Scale ranging from
Totally Agree to Totally Disagree. A note was written on top of the questionnaire to inform
the respondents of the purpose of this study and to ensure that the data collected will be used
solely for academic purposes.
Procedure
We used paper-based questionnaire for this research and chose random students at the
university library to answer the questionnaires. The questionnaires were distributed there
because it is the place where all the students from various kulliyah could be found. We did
not distribute all 22 questionnaires in a day. Instead, we took about one week to fully
distribute all 22 questionnaires. The questionnaires were collected after they completed all the
answers and the data was analysed using the frequency counts to evaluate the response of the
subjects. The result will be presented in the form of graphs and pie charts.
Data Analysis
Data obtained from questionnaires was then tallied and recorded into Microsoft Excel
spreadsheet. Later, the data inputted in Microsoft Excel were translated into bar graphs and
pie charts. The data was analysed after assessing all the visual representations that was drawn
up using data obtained.

ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Results
One purpose of this questionnaire was to investigate the factors that may lead the
students to feel anxious. Therefore, we asked the students to choose the factor that may lead
them to have anxiety. The three factors are fear of negative evaluation, avoidance of new
situations or peers and general social avoidance. The results obtained can be seen in Figure
1.1 below.

Factors that Lead to Feeling Anxious


Negative Evaluation

Avoidance of new
situations/peers

18

General social
avoidance
73

Figure 1.1: Factors that lead to feeling anxious among IIUM students
Figure 1.1 illustrates the percentage of the respondents about the factors lead to
feeling anxious among IIUM students. The three factors that were identified in this study are
fear of negative evaluation, avoidance of new situations or peers and lastly, general social
avoidance which means that it is hard for the students to ask others to do things with them.

ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Based on figure 1.1, it shows that 73% of the respondents chose fear of negative
evaluation or fear of what others say about them to be the major factor that may lead them to
feel anxious. This shows that the students have low self confidence and feel less optimistic
when it comes to other peoples perception of them.
The second factor that yields about 18% was avoidance of new situation or peers. This
shows that, students tend to avoid being in new situations such as university programs that
involve a lot of students that come from different races, ethnics and countries. They fear to be
in this situation and feels only comfortable to mingle around with their friends.
Meanwhile, the general social avoidance was a factor chose by 9% of the respondents.
This small percentage indicates that general social avoidance such as asking others to do
things with them was the least likely factor to lead them to fell nervous or tensed. This is
because as students, we are always working in groups for most of the subjects to enhance the
communication skills, exchanging idea and also for soft skills.
The second purpose of this study is to investigate the symptoms of anxiety among
IIUM students. Different symptoms of anxiety can be found. We asked the students to choose
the three things that they are most bothered by where the choices are all symptoms of anxiety.
Therefore, the results can be seen in figure 1.2.

ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Symptoms of Anxiety among Students


80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

Figure 1.2: Symptoms of anxiety among IIUM students


Figure 1.2 discuss about the symptoms of anxiety that were experienced by the IIUM
students. Eight symptoms that were identified in this study were chest pain, difficulty
breathing, easily tired, insomnia, cold or sweaty hands, problem concentrating, racing heart,
muscle tension and lastly, choking. What is life?
Based on Figure 1.2, it is proven that most of the students felt easily tired which yield
about 73% and lead them to feel anxious or tensed. This shows that most students dont have
enough rest or sleep due to the abundant of assignment or projects and some of them hold
positions in the club of society which require them to involve in meeting or program.
The second highest symptom was a problem in concentrating. Some of the
respondents felt that they have difficulty in concentrating in class. This is due to tense, or
easily tired which brings the problem of concentrating or focusing in class that later will
affect their academic performance.

ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

However, choking symptoms was totally not experienced by the students when they
feel anxious, tensed or worried. It shows that choking not agreed by the respondents as the
symptoms of anxiety.
The next chart shows the level of agreeableness to the difficulty in concentrating and
remembering things. We have chosen to investigate this because one of the most common
symptoms of anxiety is difficulty in concentrating and remembering things. University
students have a lot to deal with including examinations, presentations and assignments.
Therefore, we asked them the level of agreeableness to the difficulty in concentrating and
remembering things and the result is shown in figure 1.3 below.

Difficulty concentrating and remembering things


50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0

Figure 1.3: The level of Likert-scale on difficulty concentrating and remembering things
The second section based on Likert-scale which shows the result for the factors lead
to anxiety among IIUM students. 23% of respondents Agreed having difficulty concentrating
and remembering things especially for the presentation and examination while, 9% of
respondents totally agreed with the question. However, about 45% of respondents were
answered it neutral which is they likely agreed or disagreed to the question. It shows that, half
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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

of the student experienced difficulty in concentrating and remembering things such as in


presentation or examination that later lead them to feel anxious, tensed, worried and less
confidents.
Discussion
This study was conducted to evaluate the viewpoint of the International Islamic
University Malaysia (IIUM) students on level of anxiety. The objectives of this study were to
discuss the main factors that lead to anxiety as well as symptoms of anxiety that experienced
by the IIUM students. This study used a quantitative methodological approach with
questionnaire as an instrument to collect the data. The questionnaires were distributed to
thirty randomly selected IIUM students that came from several of kulliyahs in IIUM. The
result of the questionnaire were analysed and illustrated in form of graphs and pie charts. The
finding of this study that the most common factor that lead the students to feel anxious or
tensed was fear of negative evaluation by the others. Besides that the main symptoms of
anxiety were easily tired and difficulty in concentrating and remembering things.
Based on research question 1, it was found that the fear of negative evaluation was the
main factor of anxiety. The results showed that 73% of the respondents fear of what others
say about them. According to studies done by Greca and Lopez (1998), one of the highest
contributing factors for social anxiety is indeed fear of negative evaluation. As mentioned by
Barlow (2002), the cognitive component of anxiety is when a person fears to be judged by
others. This can negatively impact a persons life. This is because that person will constantly
over think things even in small situations. If the condition prolongs, a person might be
suffering from a much serious condition which is anxiety disorder. This happens when a
person can hardly control their anxiety. The result obtained also support Woodruff et al.

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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

(2014) who mentioned that a person anxiety increases with whenever there is a high
difference between self-representation and audiences expectations.
According to research question 2, we found that most symptoms of anxiety on the
respondents are that they feel easily tired and have problem concentrating and remembering
things. The study made by Barlow (2002) did not mention these two symptoms but they
found that the symptoms of anxiety that can be felt are sweating, heart palpitations and
blushing. The signs of anxiety on people are shown differently based on their level of anxiety.
However, based on a study made by Ree et al., (2008), some of the features of anxiety
include worry and problem concentrating which supports the result obtained.

Conclusion and Recommendation


Based on this study, we can conclude that most of the students have low level of confidence
and fear to be negatively evaluated by others or what other people thought about them. This is
because most of the students fear to communicate in English as medium language used in
IIUM was English language. Some of them are afraid to speak in English with other students
that come from other kulliyahs or other countries. Hence, they end up fear of being evaluated
by others. Besides, it was also found that main symptoms experienced by the IIUM students
was easily feel tired and problem in concentrating and remembering things. It shows that due
to the abundant of workload or assignments or projects lead them to feel tired and problem in
concentrating especially in class. Hence, they will feel tensed and worried due to incomplete
or unfinished assignment and difficulty to concentrate and focus in class that later will affect
their academic performance.

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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

This study has several implications for future academic purpose. The academic of
student affair or consultancy department may refer to this study to revise and advise the
students by knowing the main factor that contribute to anxiety level from the viewpoint of the
IIUM students. When they experienced the symptoms of anxiety, they will try to manage
their time and take steps to overcome the issues such as mingle around with other students or
attend program or seminars provide by the club or society in IIUM. Besides that, the students
may refer to this study to improve their level of anxiety and be able to avoid later on and this
be useful when they are employed because later in workforce they will be experience with
greater tense and workload. Meanwhile, the lecturers will know the level of anxiety of
students and come out with and effective and creative idea to help the students to improve
their level of anxiety through participation in class or so on.
However, several limitations were experienced in this study. Some respondents are
not answered completely all the questions because they dont experienced the symptoms
before and most of the respondents was a female students. This result will be biased due to
imbalance between the number of female and male respondents and mostly female
respondents they tend to be emotional in answering the questionnaire.
In future, the researchers who are interested to conduct this study are recommended to
improve the number of respondents and questions in questionnaire so that the result will be
unbiased and they are advised to look a respondents that have experience on anxiety to make
the research become reliable for a future academic purposes.
References
Mishra, S., & Suar, D., (2011). Effects of Anxiety, Disaster Education, and Resources on
Disaster Preparedness Behaviour. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(5), 1069-1087.
doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00853.x
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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Greca, A. M. L., & Lopez, N., (1998). Social Anxiety Among Adolescents: Linkages with
Peer Relations and Friendships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 26(2), 83-94.
Retrieved from Springer Link database.
Seel, R. (2001). Anxiety and incompetence in the large group: A psychodynamic perspective.
Journal of Organisational Change Management, 14(5), 493-503. Retrieved from Emerald
Insight database.
Clare, T. S., Menzies, R. G., Onslow, A. P., Thompson, R., & Block, S. (2009). Unhelpful
thoughts and beliefs linked to social anxiety in stuttering: development of a measure.
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 44(3), 338-351.
doi:10.1080/13682820802067529
Van Dam, N. T., Gros, D. F., Earleywine, M., & Antony, M. M., (2013). Establishing a trait
anxiety that signals likelihood of anxiety disorders. Anxiety, Stress & Coping: An
International Journal, 26(1), 70-86. doi:10.1080/10615806.2011.631525
Appendix

Unreasonable Worry About Events (Total Respondents)


90
80
70

82

60
50
40
30
20
18

10
0
Yes

No

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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Inability to Control Worry (Total Respondents)


70
60

59

50
40

41

30
20
10
0
Yes

No

Feeling in Everyday Life


Depressed or
unhappy

14
32

Unmotivated in life
Guilty or worthless

27

None
27

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ANXIETY AWARENESS AMONG IIUM STUDENTS

Level of Comfort to Approach Opposite Gender

Average

18

Uncomfortable
Comfortable

82

Unreasonable Worry about Events (Gender Based)


90
80
70

78

60
50
40
30
20

22

10
0
Female

Male

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Inability to Control Worry (Gender based)


90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Female

Male

17