Research Paper

The Connection between Gender, Academic Performance, Irrational Beliefs, Depression and Anxiety among Teenagers and Young Adults

Author: Marius M. Stanciu*, Helena Dumitru, Diana Mocanu, Amalia Mihoc, Beatrix Gulei Grǎdinaru, Cǎtǎlina Pǎnescu**
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania*, Titu Maiorescu University, Bucharest, Romania**

The present research has aimed at exploring the existing gender differences present at the level of anxiety and depressive symptoms among adolescents and young adults, looking also at the link between the presence, volume and intensity of irrational beliefs and these symptom categories, as well as the influence academic results have on them. The statistical population of the research constituted of 131 high-school students and members of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences from the University of Bucharest, as well as the Polytechnic Institute (84 female and 47 male). The participants were selected using a randomized sampling method and their ages ranged from 17 to 25 years. Depressive and anxiety symptoms were assessed using the Romanian version of the DASS21 questionnaire, while irrational beliefs were evaluated using a translated version of the Irrational Beliefs Inventory (IBI).Statistical analyses revealed the existence of significant gender differences manifested at the level of stress (p=.049) and anxiety (p=.011) symptoms, as well as significant correlations between irrational beliefs related to excessive worrying, rigidity and the tendency to avoid problems and predispositions toward depression and/or anxiety. Data analysis has also revealed that some irrational beliefs have an important impact on academic performances. As such, subjects with poor academic results seem to have more irrational beliefs related to problem avoidance compared to the ones with good academic performances (U= -3,406, p=,001). A similar result was found among the ones with low academic success and the average group (U=-2,780, p=,005). The data, however, did not confirm the existence of gender differences at the level of irrational beliefs, although excessive worrying almost reached statistical significance (p=0,66).

Keywords: irrational, belief, depression, anxiety, stress, gender, academic.