Sat, May 27, 2017 | updated 02:25 AM IST

Pressuring children for academic success leads to stress: Study

Updated: Nov 30, 2016 17:03 IST      
Pressuring children for academic success leads to stress: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov.30 (ANI): Parents should not pressurize their children to achieve good grades as doing so will sow the seeds of stress and poorer well-being later in life.

The study, "When mothers and fathers are seen as disproportionately valuing achievements: Implications for adjustment among upper middle class youth," is published in the current early online edition of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

"When parents emphasize children's achievement much more than their compassion and decency during the formative years, they are sowing the seeds of stress and poorer well-being, seen as early as sixth grade," said Suniya Luthar, a Foundation professor of psychology at ASU and one of the co-authors of the study.

"In order to foster well-being and academic success during the critical years surrounding early adolescence, our findings suggest that parents should accentuate kindness and respect for others at least as much as (or more than) stellar academic performance and extracurricular accolades," she added.

Luthar co-authored the study with Lucia Ciciolla of Oklahoma State University, Alexandria Curlee, an ASU doctoral student, and Jason Karageorge, a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco.

The study focused on perceptions of parents' values among 506 sixth grade students from an affluent community. Kids were asked to rank the top three of six things their parents valued for them. Three values were about personal successes such as good grades and a successful later career, and the other three were about kindness and decency towards others.

The researchers examined underlying patterns on scores based on children's perceptions of their parents' achievement emphasis (relative to children's kindness to others). These patterns on perceived achievement emphasis were compared against the children's school performance and actions as measured by grade point average and in-class behaviors.

The authors tried to determine if there were differences in how children were doing psychologically and academically, depending on their parents' values. They chose students entering middle school because of the immense changes that children experience at this stage, both physiologically and psychologically. Results showed that mothers and fathers perceived emphases on achievement versus interpersonal kindness played a key role in the child's personal adjustment and academic performance, as did perceptions of parents' criticism.

Specifically, Luthar said that the best outcomes were among children who perceived their mothers and fathers as each valuing kindness toward others as much as, or more than, achievements. Much poorer outcomes were seen among children who perceived either mothers or fathers valuing their achievements more highly than they valued being kind to others.

These youth experienced more internalizing symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, externalizing or acting out behaviors and lower self-esteem, as well as more parental criticism. And paradoxically given their parents high emphases on achievements, these students also had lower GPAs, and were reported by teachers to have more learning problems and disruptive behavior at school.

The findings demonstrate the value of being socially oriented, Luthar said. "It is beneficial for kids to be strongly connected with their social networks, whereas focusing too much on external validations (such as grades, extra-curricular honors) for their sense of self-worth can lead to greater insecurity, anxiety and overall distress."

What was surprising in the study, Ciciolla said, was how strongly children's psychological and academic performance, consistently across a number of different measures, were tied to what children believed their parents cared most about. And it did not matter much whether both parents or either parent were thought to more highly value achievement than kindness to others -- having disproportionate emphasis on achievement coming from either parent was generally harmful.

It was also surprising, she said, that children who viewed their parents as valuing kindness to others much more highly than achievement did not appear to be suffering academically.

"It seems that emphasizing kindness as a top priority may not take the spotlight off achievement, because we found that these children did very well over all, including in their academics," Ciciolla explained.

"But when children believed their parents cared most about achievement, possibly related to how parents communicated this message and if it came across as critical, they did worse across the board."

"To be clear," said Ciciolla, "our data did not show that encouraging achievement in itself is bad. It becomes destructive when it comes across as critical, and when it overshadows, or does not co-exist with, a simultaneous value on more intrinsic goals that are oriented toward personal growth, interpersonal connections and community well-being."

"The key is balance," added Luthar. "Not pushing kids to achieve or succeed at the expense of maintaining close relationships to others. And, we as parents must watch our tones," she cautioned, "because sometimes, what we might think is encouragement to perform better comes across to our kids as criticism for not being 'good enough' by their standards."

"The more parents are able to balance their encouragement of personal success with encouragement of maintaining kindness and personal decency, the more likely it is that children will do well," she added.

"This is especially true for kids in high achieving schools and communities where the reverberating message they hear from their earliest years is that above all else they must distinguish themselves as top-notch, or the very best, across their various activities, academic as well as extracurricular."(ANI)

New Delhi [India], May 26 (ANI): Latest robotic surgery may work as a boon for patients suffering from early stage oropharyngeal carcinoma (cancer of the mouth, neck and throat).

Full Story >>

23-year-old suffers severe heart attack due to smoking

Updated: May 26, 2017 16:01 IST     

New Delhi [India], May 26 (ANI): With several reasons attributing to a paradigm shift in the age groups suffering from heart attacks to younger age brackets, tobacco induced cardiac arrests rate as one of the topmost ones.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 26 (ANI): According to statistics, India has the third largest Muslim population in the world. The month of Ramadan is about to begin and a vast majority of this population will be fasting for a large number of days.

Full Story >>

Frequent recreational weed puts your mouth at risk

Updated: May 26, 2017 08:12 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 26 (ANI): Frequent recreational use of cannabis, including marijuana, hashish, and hash oil, ups the risk of gum disease, a recent study has found.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], May 25 (ANI): A study, presented at EuroCMR, says that chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy react more on men than women.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): Envisioning a leap in emergency care, Aster DM Healthcare on Thursday launched its most novel and unique concept, the 'Aster Emergency' app, which will offer real-time interface between the patient in emergency and a GPS-enabled Aster 'Responder'.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI-BusinessWireIndia): Everyuth Naturals, a pioneer and a leading skincare brand known for its natural ingredients and effective products has announced the re-launch of its flagship product in the face wash category with-the new improved Everyuth Tulsi Turmeric Face Wash.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): A Sutureless Valve Replacement surgery was recently performed on a 78 year old patient by Global Hospitals, Mumbai.

Full Story >>

Suicide rates among people with autism on rise

Updated: May 25, 2017 11:26 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 25 (ANI): According to a recent study, suicide rates among autism patients have reached 'worryingly' high levels.

Full Story >>

Unhappy, less aware youth prone to alcohol addiction

Updated: May 25, 2017 10:36 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 25 (ANI): Making youth aware of the harms of smoking and drinking could help them steer away from alcohol and cigarettes, suggests a recent study.

Full Story >>

London [UK], May 24 (ANI): Sleep is the easiest thing to forego by hardworking individuals. What we don't realize is, when sleep fails, one's health declines along with the quality of life.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], May 24 (ANI): According to a recent study, adequate levels of Vitamin D combined with good sleep can help you manage chronic arthritis and back pain.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], May 24 (ANI): You might consider yourself to be a recreational user but could be further along the road to drug addiction than you might have realized, a study suggests.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], May 24 (ANI): A recent study shows a multi-protein biomarker blood test to detect breast cancer can potentially reduce use of biopsy up to 67percent.

Full Story >>

Childhood obesity results in early onset of arthritis

Updated: May 24, 2017 09:32 IST     

New Delhi [India], May 7 (ANI): Obesity, which is assuming epidemic proportions among children, is proving too much on their delicate bones and joints.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], May 24 (ANI): A team of researchers has found that intestinal fungi, chronic liver damage, increase risk of death for the people with alcohol-related liver disease.

Full Story >>

Here's what dentists can tell about your health

Updated: May 23, 2017 16:46 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 23 (ANI): A recent study has found that by using medical and dental records, researchers can identify what is the cause of disease and how the patients with certain diseases will respond to surgery, medication or other interventions.

Full Story >>

Trying to lose weight? Dieting may not help

Updated: May 23, 2017 15:08 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 23 (ANI): Dieting has a little effect on losing weight, as a study finds that brain cells act as a trigger to prevent us burning calories when food is scarce.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], May 23 (ANI): A study finds that late middle-aged people, with a family history and longer version of mitochondrial gene, encountered twice as much memory loss up to 10 years later as someone with a family history and a short version of the gene.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], May 22 (ANI): Global nutrition company Herbalife Nutrition undertook a survey on balanced nutrition in 12 markets across Asia Pacific and surveyed more than 6,000 consumers to understand eating habits, exercise and lifestyle habits among them.

Full Story >>